Tag Archives: Dactyloscopy

More On Fingerprint Readers

This week’s WSJ.com/AWSJ column (subscription only, I’m afraid) is about biometric fingerprint readers. Microsoft’s new offering seems to have reinjected some vigour into an otherwise obscure corner of the market.

As I say in the column, I’m not convinced that fingerprint scanners are the way to go, not least because of tested methods of fooling them, not least with Gummi Bears.

Anyway, beyond the products reviewed in the column, I’ve found a couple more:

  • The USB Fingerprint Reader from Taiwan’s Billionton, which seems to do what the others do, at around the same price (I saw on in Singapore’s Sim Lim Square for S$98, or about $60);
  • The Targus DEFCON Authenticator which includes OmniPass software, the same interface that is used by the APC model mentioned in the column. This I saw selling for about S$80, or about $50; integrated with the reader is a two-port USB hub which is a nice tweak.

I’ve found the one I’m using most is the Sony Micro Vault USM-C, which does a pretty good job of keeping nosey folk out of my computer, but can also store important files, encrypted and accessible only to people with my fingers, and/or Gummi Bears.

Fingerprint Readers And Baths

Something I’ve noticed about biometric fingerprint readers. They don’t work well after a bath. Why is that? Are our fingers different after a bath? I mean, they look different — all wrinkly, for one thing — but why does that mess up the fingerprint reader? I do my best thinking in the bath, and it’s getting frustrating to have to wait five minutes while my fingers return to normal before I can gain access to my computer. That’s the sort of warning they should put on the box.