Japanese Company Develops Mobile Payment System That Scans Your Palm Using Smartphone Camera

Following authentication processes like thumbprint scanning, facial recognition, and QR code entry, a company in Japan this week has shown off a smartphone-based payment system that uses your unique palm print to confirm transactions (via Nikkei). Japanese credit card company JCB created the system in conjunction with Tokyo company Universal Robots, with a trial run aimed at company employees beginning next month.

This isn't the first time palm scanning technology has been used for mobile payments, with U.S. companies Biyo and Keyo each launching their own versions of similar systems recently, although on a small scale. Those technologies require merchants to purchase special terminals that include palm-scanning cameras so that customers can pay with a hand wave at their stores, but JCB's system only needs a smartphone camera and requires no specialized equipment.

Image via Nikkei
Customers would be able to leave wallets and phones in their pockets with a palm-based payment system, developed by credit card company JCB, that merchants could use with just an everyday smartphone camera.

After users register by snapping a picture of their palm from a smartphone camera, merchants or stores could scan customers' palms by smartphone to match them against registered data. With no specialized equipment needed, it would be easier for stores to incorporate the system, unlike a previous dalliance by JCB into palm-based payment that required a special terminal.
JCB's system works by identifying registrants' hands based on the surface of their palms and the "distribution of veins underneath." Users register by taking a picture of their palm from an app on their smartphone and associating it with any supported payment information. Then, when at an appropriate store the merchant can scan the customer's palm using a smartphone camera and the system will match the received data against registered data. This way, users wouldn't even need to take out their own smartphone during the payment process.

JCB hopes the technology not only evolves into a widely used payment system, but also potentially "eliminates the need for cards and other forms of identification." The employee test is being enacted with the goal of exposing any security problems with the system, "such as fraudulent registrations or uses," as well as ensuring accuracy of the system. It's said to misidentify users "only once in 100 billion times."

While palm scanning technology hasn't been widely adopted, thumbprint and face scanning have become normal interactions for users around the world when paying for items with their smartphones, particularly on iOS devices. Apple's Apple Pay began with Touch ID on iPhone 5s in 2013 and eventually came to MacBook Pro in 2016. With the launch of the iPhone X users are now paying for products with Face ID, which quickly scans their faces to confirm identity and then authenticates the purchase after being tapped to a compatible NFC terminal. Touch ID and Face ID can also both be used within apps.

Tag: Japan

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple’s All-New Downtown Brooklyn Store Opens Next Weekend

Apple today announced that it is opening an all-new retail store in Downtown Brooklyn next weekend following several months of construction.

300 Ashland

The store is located in the new 300 Ashland building in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, with an official address of 123 Flatbush Avenue. The grand opening will occur Saturday, December 2 at 10:00 a.m. local time.

The store will be Apple's second in Brooklyn alongside its Williamsburg location opened in July 2016. It will also be Apple's 11th store in New York City, with seven locations in Manhattan, one in Queens, and one on Staten Island.

The store is situated near the LIRR's Atlantic Terminal and Barclays Center, home to the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and the NHL's New York Islanders.

Apple has also announced that its store in the Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo has temporarily closed for renovations. Apple recommends customers visit its nearby Omotesando store during the modernization process.

In related news, Japanese blog Mac Otakara claims that Apple is planning to open a store in Kyoto, Japan by 2019, and possibly two other stores in Tokyo in time for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in the city.

Apple Downtown Brooklyn is the company's 499th retail store location around the world if the new Visitors Center at Apple Park is included.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

Discuss this article in our forums

Supplier Ibiden Commits to 100 Percent Renewable Energy For Apple Manufacturing

Apple has announced that component supplier Ibiden has become the first company in Japan to guarantee all of its Apple manufacturing will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

Ibiden is planning to invest in more than 20 new renewable energy facilities, including one of the largest floating solar photovoltaic systems in the country.


"We're proud to partner with suppliers like Ibiden who recognize that renewable energy investments are good for the environment and good for business," said Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. "As we continue our push to power our global operations with 100 percent renewable energy, it is more important than ever that we help our manufacturing partners make the same transition to cleaner sources, and set an example for other companies to follow."
The renewable energy projects set up by Ibiden, which manufactures printed circuit boards and integrated circuit packaging used in Apple devices, will reportedly produce over 12 MW of solar power and support Japan's efforts to limit its carbon emissions.

Apple and its suppliers are aiming to generate over 2.5 billion kilowatt hours per year of clean energy for the manufacturing of Apple products by the end of 2018, which Apple claims is equal to taking over 400,000 cars off the road for a year.

More than 93 percent of Apple's worldwide operations are said to be powered by renewable energy. In August last year, Apple announced that Chinese supplier Lens Technology had committed to power all of its glass production for Apple with 100 percent renewable energy by 2018.

Outside of manufacturing, Apple's new headquarters in California will be powered by one of the largest onsite corporate solar energy installations in the world. All of the company's data centers are similarly powered by 100 percent renewable energy, as are 145 of its U.S. retail stores, and the large majority of its corporate facilities.


Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Pay Japan ‘New Life’ Promotion Brings Support For Six New Credit Cards

Apple today posted a limited-time promotion on its Japanese site for its "New Life" campaign, which allows customers using certain company-issued credit cards to receive cashback and other benefits on Apple Pay purchases and store rewards.

As noted by Japanese blog Ata Distance, the Apple Pay promotion runs between March 1 and April 30 and takes in app purchases and online services including Japan Taxi, Toho Cinemas, Demae-Can, Jalan, Minne, Base, and Giftee. The available online rewards range from coupons to free shipping on orders, while purchases from brick-and-mortar convenience stores are also touting similar benefits.


As part of its "New Life" campaign, Apple has added more firms to its list of participating card issuers: APLUS, EPOS, JACCS, Cedyna, POCKETCARD and Life all now offer some sort of reward as part of the promotion. UCS integration has also been confirmed but a timeline for activation has not been announced.

Apple Pay debuted in the Japanese market last October following the release of iOS 10.1, making it available for use at all locations that accept the Suica prepaid money card, QuicPay, or iD. Apple Pay in Japan also works with credit and debit cards issued by American Express, JCB, Mastercard, Aeon Financial, Orico, Credit Saison, SoftBank, d Card, View Card, MUFG Card, and more.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Japan

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Launches ‘Back to Uni’ Promotion in Australia and New Zealand, Offers Up to $100 Apple Store Gift Card

Apple today launched its annual "Back to Uni" promotion in Australia and New Zealand, offering students and select other educational employees a $70 to $100 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a qualifying new Mac or iPad Pro.


Apple is offering a A$100 or NZ$105 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a new Mac, including the iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and built-to-order versions of those models. Refurbished models and the lower-cost Mac mini do not qualify for the offer per usual.

Meanwhile, students and teachers who purchase any new iPad Pro model will receive a A$70 or NZ$75 Apple Store gift card.

In Australia, the promotion is available to full-time or part-time students aged 18 or over studying at an accredited Australian university or other Apple-approved institution. Lecturers and staff members at accredited Australian universities or Apple-approved educational institutions are also eligible.

In New Zealand, the promotion is available to students attending or accepted into a higher education institution, faculty members and staff members of higher education institutions, any employee of a public or private K–12 institution, and parents purchasing on behalf of a current or accepted student.

The promotion runs between February 7 and March 17 in both countries on Apple's website and at Apple Stores in Australia. Eligible customers can also call 133-622 in Australia or 0800-692-7753 in New Zealand. The promotion can be combined with Apple's standard educational pricing discounts.

Apple today also launched a similar promotion in Japan, offering students an ¥8,500 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a new Mac and ¥5,500 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of any new iPad Pro.


Discuss this article in our forums

Apple to Hold New Year’s Sale in Japan Starting January 2

Starting on January 2, Apple plans to hold a special New Year's Sale both online and at all of its retail locations in Japan, continuing a long tradition of offering something special on January 2 in the country.

Up until 2016, Apple took part in the Japanese tradition of offering "Fukubukuro" or "lucky bags" to customers. Fukubukuro used to contain an assortment of random Apple products at a price of approximately $300. Some bags contained things like backpacks, speakers, and other small accessories, but there was always a chance to win a larger product, like a MacBook Air or an iPad.

japanapplesale
The Fukubukuro tradition is still ongoing in Japan, but 2015 was the last year that Apple participated, opting instead for in-store sales and doing away with the long lines retail locations used to see as people hoped to snag one of the limited edition bags.

It is not clear what kind of discounts Apple will be offering on January 2, but it could be similar to the Black Friday event in the United States, which saw the company offer Apple Store gift cards up to $150 with the purchase of Macs, iPads, iPhones, and more.

Apple is also likely to offer additional sales in various countries around the world ahead of Lunar New Year, set to take place on Saturday, January 28.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
Tags: Japan, Apple retail

Discuss this article in our forums

Rare photos capture the attack on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese perspective, 75 years ago

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fstory%2fthumbnail%2f30152%2fpearlharborthumb

Feed-twFeed-fb

Bomber pilots who participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Image: ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images

In 1941, it seemed to many in Japan that war against the United States was inevitable

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet, had opposed Japan’s alliance with Germany and Italy and its invasion of China

He had also traveled and studied throughout the United States, and understood that Japan’s island empire could not hope to defeat the Americans’ vast resources and industrial capacity in a prolonged war.

Despite his reservations, the pro-war political climate ultimately forced Yamamoto to devise a plan to strike the United States. Read more…

More about Japan, Pearl Harbor Anniversary, Pearl Harbor, World War Ii, and History

Pokémon theme songs for Japan, Korea and the U.S. are totally different

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fstory%2fthumbnail%2f30182%2fscreen_shot_2016-12-07_at_1.14.21_pm

Feed-twFeed-fb

It wasn’t too long ago that the Pokémon Go craze put the anime theme song “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” back in our heads.

But in Japan and Korea, players were listening to very different tunes.

American YouTuber Dave Levene uploaded a video comparing the English, Japanese and Korean versions of the TV show’s opening songs, and they’re each surprisingly unique.

While the U.S. version is straight up rock, the Japanese version (めざせポケモンマスター, or “Aim to Be a Pokémon Master”) had a melodic J-pop style, with a soaring vocal line. 

The Korean version (모험의 시작, or “Start of an Adventure”) was a rock anthem set to a marching beat. Read more…

More about Korea, Japan, Anime, Pokemon, and Watercooler

Domino’s sadly gives up on reindeer pizza delivery plans for Christmas

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fcard%2fimage%2f304556%2fsub4

Feed-twFeed-fb

Those reindeer turned out to be a lot harder to train than Domino’s had anticipated.

The American pizza company announced on Thursday it was abandoning its plans to use reindeer to deliver pizzas in Japan for Christmas.

Domino’s had made a big announcement last week saying it was preparing a fleet of reindeer-pulled carriages to deliver pizzas over the holidays in wintry parts of Japan.

But in its latest statement [Japanese], the company has had to backtrack on this promise, saying it was “difficult to control” the reindeer. Read more…

More about Domino S, Pizza, Reindeer, Japan, and World

Starbucks releases hot baked apple lattes and Frappuccinos for Christmas

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fcard%2fimage%2f302802%2f493f0a4add674f7f8c9501d91d35b88a

Feed-twFeed-fb

It’s starting to smell a lot like Christmas in Japan.

Starbucks on Thursday released its latest festive flavour in the country, baked apple, in the form of a hot latte and a Frappuccino ice-blended drink.

Baked apple joins the Starbucks Japan Christmas line up of gingerbread and pecan nut drinks.

Image: starbucks japan

According to Starbucks Japan’s blog, the hot baked latte is made with warm apple juice, and contains bits of caramelised apple and brown sugar and butter. Read more…

More about Festive, Christmas, Japan, Frappuccino, and Coffee