Your Blood Vessels: Newest ID for Credit Cards?

LONDON - A British engineer has invented a biometric identification system that is being evaluated as a weapon in the fight to curb credit card fraud.

Called Vein Check, the system reads the unique characteristics of blood vessels found in a human hand. The pattern recognition system can be used for positive identification in credit card or automated teller machine transactions, said the inventor, Joseph Rice.

The idea came to him several years ago when he was working on improving bar code technology for his employer, a British subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Inc.

Mr. Rice's idea has won him a prize in an invention competition held in Britain by Toshiba, the Japanese computer manufacturer. The award includes financial backing to develop his device.

"Bankers, police, and security companies in the U.S. and Europe have already responded favorably," Mr. Rice said.

The engineer hopes the device will be licensed next year.

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