Fingerprint log in systems, once just gadgets in James Bond films, will be made a mass-market reality by Compaq Computer next month.
A Compaq representative said the PC fingerprint recognition system, developed in conjunction with Identicator, will be sold as a PC add-on retailing at around #75 per unit.
The device, around half the size of a PC mouse, is programmed to recognise a person?s fingerprint. To log in you have to press your chosen finger onto the device. A tiny micro camera then cross-checks your fingerprint against an image stored in the device. If it matches you will be logged on.
Those who are afraid someone will take their fingerprints need not worry. According to Compaq, the software works with 3D images of a fingerprint and converting 2D images into three dimensions is a long and complex process. Compaq believes the fingerprint recognition system will appeal to health and financial institutions who store private and confidential data as well as parents who do not want their offspring tampering with their PC.
?It?s price point is such that it will get picked up by corporates, government and consumers alike,? said a Compaq representative. Compaq accepts that it isn?t the first company to bring fingerprint security to computers. Both National Registry Incorporated and Digital Biometrics are amongst manufacturers who have similar systems on the market, mentioned in June 1997 by VNU Newswire.
?We are not claiming to be the first. The technology has been around for a long time,? said a Compaq representative. ?But no-one yet has brought it to the mass market.?
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