Future payments: Vein scanning technology will end lengthy queues

Paying for items using the veins in your hand and our hard-coded biometrics has become a reality, with hand-scanned purchases being made.

By simply moving your hand over a scanner it is able to detect your identity and connect with your payment details to allow you to buy items without having to wait for a card to be verified or even entering a pin number.

The technology is not just a concept either, with 15 stores around the University of Lund, Sweden, where it was developed, already using the scanners to allow people to pay for products.

To date 1,600 people have been using their veins to buy items faster than usual.

As with the fingerprint scanners on latest iPhones and Samsung S5 phones, the technology provides an almost infallible security protection.

The university isn’t the first to use vein scanning as a method of payment and the technology has been around for a few years now, but it has failed to take-off commercially.

Manufacturers will hope that the likes of Samsung and Apple beginning to use scanning hardware for security will increase the public confidence in its reliability.

Earlier this year Biyo, formerly known as PulseWallet, showed off its palm scanners which are able to verify a user in one second.

The company’s scanning devices allow you to also manage your online wallet with a mobile app and online dashboard as well as showing digital receipts.

In Brazil, in the largest use of the scanning technology to date, 35,000 ATMs have been using Fujitsu’s PalmSecure scanning to help prevent fraud.


While the vein system would almost be impossible to break, there is the worry for users that their personal details are still being held by a company that is not their bank.

For the working model in Sweden users sign up by visiting one of the stores with a terminal and enter their social security and phone number.

They then scan their palm three times and received a text message with the activation link – further information is provided by the user as part of a web form.

Fredrik Leifland, from university in Sweden, said: “We had to connect all the players ourselves, which was quite complex: the vein scanning terminals, the banks, the stores and the customers.

“The next step was finding ways of packaging it into a solution that was user-friendly”, says Fredrik.

“Every individual’s vein pattern is completely unique, so there really is no way of committing fraud with this system. You always need your hand scanned for a payment to go through.”

Image two courtesy of Biyo

Travel in 2024: Wearable translators, VR holiday previews and low-orbit space hotels

Ten years from now travellers will be using an array of wearable tech and digital assistants to aid seamless booking and enjoyment of holidays, according to a report published by holiday booking company Skyscanner and futurist consultancy The Future Laboratory.

Travel destinations will also have widened: as well as globetrotting we will be seeing the stars and plumbing the depths, with hotels in both low-orbit space and underwater, according to the company.

The first part of the report, which is presented in a lush interactive online format, was published today, with parts two and three expected to follow later this year.

Skyscanner head of B2B Filip Filipov said: “With so many emerging technologies it is mind-boggling to imagine just what their impact on travel could be. This report is a sneak peek into the future.”


Gone will be the days when a visit to a foreign language-speaking country were fraught with desperate miming and embarrassed smiles.

The report predicts that wearable contact lenses will provide real-time translations of menus and signs, while smart devices such as the long awaited Apple iWatch will offer real-time verbal translations, making taxi trips a breeze.

Wearable such as Google Glass will also provide information about the best travel spots through a digital assistant that knows exactly what is required for your ideal holiday.

However, the report doesn’t go into the risk of carrying all of this pricey tech around –  tourists are unlikely to be any less of a target for criminals in a decade, and talking watches aren’t exactly discreet.


Digital assistants won’t just be with us on holiday, though. Skyscanner reckons they will play a big part in booking the trip too – no more trawling through websites for the best deal, instead a Siri-like entity will provide suggestions based on our likes and dislikes.

We won’t just be seeing pictures of these – the company believes that in a decade we will be able to preview the scenery with digitised panoramic windows. We’ll also be previewing our trips through VR headsets, complete with haptic feedback to tell us how soft the hotel sheets are.

Skyscanner is quick to dispel the idea that this tech will replace holidays entirely, though, probably because it would put them in a tricky position business-wise. However we’re inclined to agree with them – we’ll still be craving true getaways even if our devices can provide a fair approximation.


Perhaps coolest of all is the notion of holidays to low-orbit space hotels and underwater apartments, but the idea that this will be up and running in a decade is a little questionable. Possibly the super rich might be able to afford a mini-break to space, but for most of us it will be a long time yet before that trip is doable.

Underwater hotels is a more curious one – underwater living has been experimented for decades, but it has ended up being a bit like geodesic dome houses: cool, more-or-less doable but ultimately not a realistic approach. The field needs serious investment if it is to happen, and perhaps if sea levels rise people might begin to take this technology seriously.

Images courtesy of Skyscanner.