Wave of a hand to make passwords thing of the past
Passwords for online banking, social networks and email could be replaced with a wave of the hand if prototype technology developed by Intel, which employs 4,000 people at its Leixlip operation, makes it to tablets and laptops.
Aiming to do away with the need to remember passwords for growing numbers of online services, Intel researchers have put together a tablet with new software and a biometric sensor that recognises the unique patterns of veins on a person's palm.
"The problem with passwords," Sridhar Iyengar, the firm's director of security research told the annual Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco yesterday, "is that we use too many of them, their rules are complex, and they differ for different websites." He suggested biometrics was a possible solution and demonstrated by waving his hand in front of a tablet.
The technology could be used to securely communicate a person's identity to banks, social networks and other services where the person has accounts, he said.
Making laptops, tablets and smartphones responsible for identifying users would take that requirement away from individual websites and do away with the need to individually enter passwords into each of them, he added.
"We plan to work with service providers to take full advantage of this," he said.
A device using the technology would also use built-in accelerometers to detect when a user puts it down, and log its owner off to prevent unauthorised access.
The technology works much better than the finger-print scanners found on some laptops today, Intel claimed.
The palm-identification technology was one of several demonstrations during a keynote address by Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner at the forum.
He also showed prototype technology to improve cell-phone base stations and to efficiently and wirelessly connect devices such as printers, tablets and monitors throughout the home.
Intel also showed a prototype microchip with wifi technology made with digital circuitry instead of analog, a development that it says has the potential to lead to major improvements in performance and efficiency. (Reuters)