Fingerprints to lock up laptops

Tuesday, 6 May 2003, 11:00 AM EST

The desktop security company plans to sell the scanner, named the U-are-U Firefly, to laptop and personal digital assistant makers that want to allow users to protect their data with a fingerprint scan.

"It is an effective use of real estate," said Harvey Bondar, vice president of marketing for the DigitalPersona. "It is an inexpensive approach for a device manufacturer who wants to include" security using a biometric, unique signature created from physical human characteristics such as a fingerprint or a voiceprint.

Fingerprint scanners typically use a flat sensor made of silicon or glass, depending on whether the device uses electrical differences or an optical image, respectively, to create a biometric. DigitalPersona specializes in using optical sensors to characterize fingerprints.

Bondar said that laptop makers will likely be the first to venture into using the new roller-style sensor, which is smaller than a 9-volt battery and can also be used as a jog dial for navigation, in their products.

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