Oct. 2, 2012 at 2:47 PM ET
Japanese telecom company KDDI has demonstrated an interesting new app at the CEATEC trade show in Japan: instead of putting in a PIN or pattern to unlock your phone, you just put your hand under the camera and the phone does the rest.
Palm recognition technology isn't brand new, but the ability to do so quickly and easily with nothing but a smartphone, as with KDDI's Android app, certainly is. The only problem is that this quick method doesn't have quite the fidelity or security of a more high-power biometric scanner.
Still, it was enough to tell apart a couple palms in Engadget's hands-on — or hands-off, as it were. The configuration has you put your hand in a very specific position to get a good reading on the features of your hand. But unlike more sophisticated devices, it doesn't use special light to detect veins or anything like that. But the rear camera (in this case, that of a Japanese HTC One series) is good enough to track the lines and wrinkles on your hand, which is good enough for everyday security.
It may not be quicker than a simple pattern, but the palm-reading technique is definitely more impressive, and eager developers may be able to make something even better out of it. KDDI's app should be available soon for free in the Google Play store.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.