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UniCredit invents Papillon, to pay just reach out your hand

Today saw the first touchless biometric payment via a system where you are identified by a map of the veins on yourhand


The first touchless biometric payment was made today by Federico Ghizzoni, CEO of UniCredit, at a KIKO MAKE UP MILANO retail store.

Ghizzoni hovered his hand over a sensor, built into a new generation POS called Papillon, and in a few seconds the reader recognized his hand and the payment was complete.


No credit card, no PIN number to remember, no finger prints or even more complicated iris scanning. Papillon(*) was developed by the UniCredit Research & Development team under the leadership of Marco Berini and Riccardo Prodam. It uses an infrared sensor to recognize the geometry of the veins on the palm of your hand.


The mechanism is simple: with a palm over the sensor it captures the image created by hemoglobin in the blood when struck by an electromagnetic impulse. The sensor recognizes the map of veins and arteries in the hand, which are unique to everyone. However, all this happens without taking a photo or storing data. The sensor just "translates" the map into a unique numeric code. All you have to do is register and allow the system to convert the map of your hand into a series of numbers and from then on, every time you place your hand overthe sensor, Papillon will identify you. What's more, the code cannot be converted back into the original map of the blood circulating in the hand.


"We innovate in order to compete and grow", stated Federico Ghizzoni, CEO of UniCredit, "it's what the market wants and, above all, it's what our customers want. This is why we've been working on a new way of banking, investing resources in development and advanced solutions that are capable of creating new products and services. The new R&D team started with new ideas, building prototypes based on the most advanced technology, in order to creatively provide added value to our customers, colleagues and network, through new solutions that benefit the entire Group".


"KIKO MAKE UP MILANO is a company that is continuously developing", says its Chairman Antonio Percassi, "innovation, color and quality are our keybrand values. In recent years, KIKO has revolutionized the cosmetics market, enabling all women to express their personalities by choosing from a huge range of innovative products. Developing and testing new technologies to increase our service to customers, in over 500 of our sales outlets throughout Europe, is part of KIKO's DNA. So, of course we agreed to work in partnership with UniCredit, to provide a highly innovative payment system in tunewith our brand mission".


"Papillonis a paradigm shift", explains Marco Berini, "until now all conventional identification systems have been designed to recognize a person's document or device. This system recognizes the person themself through a simple non-invasive procedure, the passing of the palm of the hand over a sensor, without even touching it".


The number of potential applications for this technology are almost infinite. Papillon can be used whenever secure and accurate identification is needed: from card payments to ATM transactions, through to access to reserved areas (one of the revolving entrance doors of the UniCredit HQ in piazza Cordusio already works with Papillon) and the locks for your front door or car.


"Papillon's identification system securityis very high level", states Riccardo Prodam, "practically without any risk of error. The sensor is very similar to the infra-red system used for TV remotes and, better still, you don't even have to touch it, just bring your hand up to within 5 centimeters".


Today's test is the first of many before the system becomes fully operational. It will be introduced gradually for mobile payments along withother solutions such as the reading of QR-codesfor smart-phones, in test with UniCredit at the moment. The Papillon sensor will be connected to a conventional POS terminal and may replace ATM and credit cards entirely as a way of recognizing individuals for payment purposes and the automatic debiting of current or credit card accounts.


Milan, 21 December 2012




(*) The technology is called Papillon ("butterfly" in French) in homage to Jean-Dominique Bauby, the journalist who - following an accident - is only able to move his left eyelid: his life story was made into a film by Julian Schnabel,  'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly')