Handprint Tracking Trialed to Count Divers


A new electronic tracking system which uses handprints to identify and monitor passengers is being trialed on the Great Barrier Reef to reduce the risk of divers and snorkellers being left behind by tour vessels.

20 years ago, American couple Tom and Eileen Lonergan were left behind while diving on the Great Barrier Reef and were never found. Since then other people have also been left behind due to incorrect headcounts.

The prototype of the Tourist Onboard Management System, or TOMS, has been developed by TOMS International, and director Tony Raftis says it uses a palm vein scanning technology created by Fujitsu to identify passengers. Passengers register their palms with the TOMS technology at the terminal before boarding and scan their palms every time they got on and off the boat.

The system is fast and secure, he says. Similar technology is already being used in banking and security, and Raftis hopes to roll the technology out commercially over the coming year.

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