Friday, October 27, 2006

The Silex S2: The "Perfect" Fingerprint Reader?

Nobody's perfect and nothing works 100 per cent of the time, right? Tell that to Silex Technology America Inc. because the Salt Lake City-based company believes it has a biometric technology that comes pretty darn close.

Walk into a computer store and you'll find add-on fingerprint readers as well as notebook computers and desktop PC keyboards with tiny fingerprint readers built in. Configure the reader to recognize your fingerprint and no one but you will be able to access your sensitive data, right? Unfortunately, the fingerprint reader that works perfectly in the store might not be so cooperative in bad weather, if it gets smudged or if your fingers are wet, dirty or extra dry, said Gary Bradt, vice president of Silex's biometric division. Imagine that: Data kept so securely that not even you can get at your own data.

Enter the Silex S2, a portable USB fingerprint reader which doesn't rely on actual finger contact but uses a proprietary radio frequency technology to read your fingerprint one skin layer deep. Since the sensing electronics don't need to touch your finger, the weather and your digit-cleansing habits won't affect the S2's ability to recognize your fingerprint and unlock your data, said Bradt. The result is near-perfect reading accuracy, he said.

The S2, which comes in a sealed white plastic housing, is slightly smaller but significantly lighter than the current Silex S1, which uses the same RF technology. The S2 is light enough to be worn on a cord around the neck and can be used with a user identity module (UID), a small electronic card similar to the SIM cards used in GSM cell phones to identify user accounts.

The goal, said Bradt is the license the RF fingerprint reading technology to other hardware manufacturers. Will the technology take off? Only time will tell. The S2 will be officially announced Oct. 30.

Photo courtesy of Silex Technology America Inc.
© Copyright 2006 Stadium Circle Features

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