Contactless technologies have come into the spotlight amid the spread of the new coronavirus in Japan as people have become more conscious of the risk of infection with the pneumonia-causing virus by touching doorknobs and buttons in buildings. While wearing a face mask has become normal, Glory Ltd, a money-changer manufacturer, has developed an advanced facial recognition technology that is capable of distinguishing people with part of their face covered with a mask. Glory, based in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, said it envisions using the new technology for walk-through entry control at offices, for example. The new technology detects the shape of each person’s eyes, forehead and nose – the area that is not usually covered by a face mask – with the support of artificial intelligence and confirms identity after advance recognition of people’s faces, it said. The company said it will put the new product on sale in June at a suggested retail price of 2.2 million yen (US$20,600). Since Glory developed facial recognition systems in 2003, its products have been used at about 1,000 locations in Japan including hospitals, supermarkets and nursing care facilities. Meanwhile, sensor maker Optex Co has produced a contactless control button to open and close a door, a product it hopes will be used in food processing plants, hospitals and other places requiring a high quality of hygiene control. Dubbed “CleanSwitch”, the new product using microwaves can stably recognise a hand, even in a glove, 10 to 50 centimetres above it and open or close the door, according to Optex, based in Shiga Prefecture, western Japan. As the new button 8.8cm square is available for humid conditions, the company hopes it will also be used in kitchens and refrigerating warehouses. The company aims to sell 3,000 units, each priced at 66,000 yen, this year, according to the company. “We would like to promote the product so we can help curb the new coronavirus as much as possible,” an Optex official said.