A show of hands

Published: Wednesday 15 December 1993

Travellers entering USA may soon be identified by their hands. The identification system, known as Inspass, provides each traveller with a card that has a nine-byte code describing the shape of their hands. Inspass uses a solid-state television camera that photographs the hand from overhead and from the side and translates the information into a code recorded on the card (New Scientist, Vol 140, No 1895).

On arrival, the traveller runs the card through the machine and places his or her hand into a scanner, which checks whether the hand matches the description on the card. If it does, the machine issues an entry pass and opens a gate, allowing the traveller into the country. The whole procedure takes a mere 35 seconds.

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