Fingerprint scanners have become a pretty ubiquitous technology by now, with just about every notebook we test sporting one, but as watching James Bond tells us, the technology can be beaten quite easily with a bit of determination (and a swanky phone). Fujitsu, then, is making the logical step of extrapolating the technology into scanning not one finger, but the users entire hand.
More specifically, the scanner uses infra-red to map the layout of veins under the surface of the palm, using proprietary Fujitsu Palm Vein Technology which in the example revealed today is built into a mouse. The mouse integrates into Windows just like any other biometric security, enabling passwords to be entered automatically as long as the right person uses the mouse.
The main reason this method is more secure than fingerprints is because of how difficult it is to duplicate the medium. While grabbing a print off a glass is a fairly trivial affair, grabbing an infra-red scan of a persons hand without them realising is a much more difficult affair, notwithstanding having to duplicate the vein layout. More gruesomely, as the process relies on having hot blood flowing through the hand, any budding vault-breaker can't mimic the time-honoured trick of cutting of a finger to use on a scanner.
As well as a model built into a mouse, Fujitsu are also selling a standalone scanner, no pricing is yet announced but units are set to start shipping soon. If you want to get extra paranoid about ensuring no-one reads your soup recipes when you're out of the house, this could be the way. (you have soup recipes! ...where!? - ed).
Press release (translated).