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You're so vein: Samsung files a patent for a vein-scanning smartwatch

Who doesn’t love a good Samsung patent filing? This time, Samsung’s flirting with the idea of a smartwatch that can recognize you by your veins.

That sounds crazy, right? Apparently, it’s totally plausible. Originally discovered by Fast Company, the patent filing describes technology that works similarly to a fingerprint scanner in a smartphone. Only instead of your fingertip, the watch takes a picture of your “vein structure and characteristics,” and stores that in its database. Then, any time you have to authenticate, it’ll ensure your veins match the initial imprint.

The patent suggests this technology could be easily implemented into a wearable device.

The patent illustrations suggest that this kind of authentication is possible by equipping the smartwatch with a camera sensor and two light sources on either side of the chassis. That camera would then use infrared to scan the area on the back of your hand and record the structure of your veins.

Why this matters: Fingerprint scanning on a smartwatch does not sound user friendly, which is why this particular technology could prove to be very useful, especially as smartwatches begin to rely less on being tethered to a parent device. Vein scanning could, for example, help smartwatches prove who their wearers are when interacting with the Internet of Things. It would also ensure that no one could snag your smartwatch for themselves—although, do we really have to worry about people snagging an Android Wear or Tizen-based Samsung watch when Apple’s selling two-thirds of all smartwatches in the market?

Regardless, this is an innovative patent from Samsung. It’ll be interesting to see how the company implements it in a future version of its smartwatches.

IDG Insider

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