The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to a device and a method for identifying a person by utilizing a vein pattern obtained by imaging light transmitted through his or her finger.
"Personal identification techniques include methods based on fingerprints, irises, voice, veins on the back of a hand and so forth. A number of companies are already manufacturing and marketing fingerprint-based personal identification devices. These products identify a person by reading his or her fingerprint by having the fingerprint come into contact with a fingerprint sensor, recognizing end points and branching points of the fingerprint, and collating them with characteristic points of registered fingerprints.
"JP-A-295674/1998 discloses a personal identification device based on veins on the back of a hand. According to this, the back of a hand is faced toward an image pick-up camera, and the reflection of the light emitted from the camera is used to pick up a blood vessel pattern to identify the person on that basis. The device is designed to prevent the location of the hand to be imaged from fluctuating from one round of identification to another by having the hand grasp a fixed rod-shaped guide.
"JP-A-21373/1995 discloses a personal identification device based on finger veins, which, particularly to reduce the loss of luminous energy at the time of image picking up, keeps an optical fiber in close contact with the finger and picks up a finger image."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The prior art uses methods highly likely to meet psychological resistance from the person to be identified, such as taking the person's fingerprint or projecting a light beam into his or her eye. Either of the above-cited personal identification devices according to the prior art requires part of the person's body to get in contact with the identification device, and this may make the identification devices unsuitable for use in medical care facilities, where sanitation is of particular importance. Furthermore, as they utilize features exposed outside the human body, these devices are susceptible to forgery.
"The present invention is intended to architect a security system in environments where non-contact is required, such as a medical care facilities. For this purpose, the invention provides a device and a method for carrying out personal identification by picking up a finger image in a non-contact manner and extracting the vein pattern of the image from this finger image.
"The invention further takes note of a new problem that, where a finger image is to be picked up, it is susceptible to rotation or luminance intensity fluctuations and therefore difficult to identify the person with high accuracy. Accordingly, the invention provides a device and a method for carrying out personal identification with high accuracy even though it uses a pattern of finger veins susceptible to rotation or luminance fluctuations.
"In order to achieve these objects, a personal identification device according to the invention has a storage for storing vein patterns of registered finger images, an interface equipped with a light source and a camera for picking up transmitted light through fingers, and a means for extracting a vein pattern contained in the picked-up image of transmitted light through the fingers and identifying a person by collating the extracted vein pattern with the vein patterns of registered finger images, wherein the interface has a groove into which fingers are inserted without contact, and the light source and the camera are arranged opposite each other with the groove between them.
"The means for personal identification is characterized in that the picked-up finger image is corrected for any rotation on the plane of image pick-up arising when the fingers are inserted into the interface, and the person is identified by extracting a vein pattern contained in the finger image corrected for the rotation.
"These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent in view of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments in conjunction with accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 illustrates an example of system configuration for implementing the present invention;
"FIG. 2 illustrates an example of configuration of an input interface for acquiring a finger vein image;
"FIG. 3 illustrates another example of configuration of an input interface for acquiring a finger vein image;
"FIGS. 4A-4D illustrate examples of finger vein pattern input interfaces embodying consideration for safety;
"FIG. 5 illustrates an example of arrangement of a light source and a charge coupled device (CCD) camera in an input interface for imaging a vein pattern in many directions;
"FIG. 6 illustrates an example of system configuration enabling non-contact entrance/exit including personal identification;
"FIG. 7 illustrates an example of system configuration for carrying out personal identification by combining a vein pattern with personal feature information including a personal identification number (PIN), fingerprint, iris, voice, handwriting and face;
"FIG. 8 illustrates an example of system configuration for acquiring a template image of a vein pattern by utilizing an IC card;
"FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing an outline of processing by software to implement the invention;
"FIGS. 10A-10D are image diagrams illustrating a method for tracking the outline of a finger image;
"FIGS. 11A-11B are image diagrams illustrating a method for performing rotational correction against any inclination of a finger image;
"FIG. 12 is an image diagram illustrating a method for normalizing a cut-out part of a finger image;
"FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing how a vein pattern is taken out of a an finger image;
"FIG. 14 is a flowchart showing how the ratio of mismatching between two vein patterns is calculated;
"FIG. 15 is a flowchart showing how correlation between vein patterns is calculated by utilizing partial images of two vein patterns; and
"FIGS. 16A and 16B are tables showing performance comparisons between a method according to the invention and another method in terms of the false accept rate (FAR) and the false reject rate (FRR)."
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