Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fingerprint reader is my "Sci-Fi now" reminder

I can't wait for the moment the use of biometric devices becomes mainstream.

There exist a variety of biometric measurements depending on the solution. Purely biometric: fingerprints, facial recognition, iris scan, retinal scan, hand geometry, vascular patterns, DNA. Others more behavioral: speaker recognition, signature.

Particularly in the short term I personally love fingerprint readers. I use one at home so anybody in the family can reach their own windows profile in a shared computer we have always on. In my notebook I happen to have it built-in as well and I use it mostly for windows login as Firefox does a pretty good job remembering my web site passwords. I force myself to use the one in my notebook (even if it'd be faster sometimes to type in my key) as a way to remind myself of this technology. In addition I love the sensation of having my body providing information to the computer, it's my daily reminder that we need to invent new science fiction because the one we grew up with is mostly happening now.

I understand the concerns as far as security goes, nobody wants to end up with a chopped finger or poked eye just to save a few key strokes, but I am convinced we need to go in that direction and there are some hybrid alternatives that make a lot of sense to me.

Wouldn't it be nice to walk/drive into an ATM and instead of having to have the physical card you could just stick your finger in a reader? Then you could just use your pin number as you do today.

Yesterday I was at a INS office getting my biometrics for my green card process. As they had me some minutes doing the digital lecture of my fingerprints I got to amuse myself with the software which seemed pretty cool. It even would let the attendant know when there was too much/little moisture. It'd show a score for the reading, mine was around 69-75% but I was relieved to know the attendant never saw something greater than 75 ... I wonder on those scores calibration but anyway ...

The software is out there, the hardware is super cheap, I think the key is the hybrid solution. When people think of biometrics they tend to think of a one for all solution where you get rid of users and passwords and really just replacing user id in a lot of the critical cases like ATM would make much more sense.

My fingers are ready, anyway they're the ones that know most of my passwords today :)


Jorge Mastro said...

Este va en español. (Mastro again)

Hace más de 10 años, estuve en una conferencia de Ed Yourdon en Boston donde hablaba de usabilidad y similar. Y contó una experiencia que habían realizado en Australia con los ATM, que reconocía al usuario por el Iris, y además, habian mejorado el software del cajero (acá en Uru es de terror la interfase!). Entre otras cosas, lo que habían hecho era decirle al usuario (con parlantes, no por pantalla) algo así como : "Hola Cecilia, lo mismo de siempre?". Ya que, si Uds se fijan casi siempre extraen la misma cantidad de deniro o hacen casi siempre los mismos pasos en el cajero.
Bueno, el "problema" del sistema es que la gente quedaba como Shockeada y entonces tuvieron que hacer que la gente apretara un botón o una opción, que en realidad no hacía nada, sólo para que no se sintieran 'invadidos'o 'perdidos' los usuarios. :)

Tu entrada me hizo recordar este cuento.

Cecilia Abadie said...

Tenes razon, no me acordaba de esta historia que alguna vez escuche tambien y te deja pensando. La technologia falla muchas veces en tratar de ir un paso mas adelante de las personas (como en el caso de los telefonos con videoconferencia que increiblemente luego de muchisimos anios no se han masivizado). Lo que tambien creo es que en cualquier caso cuando una tecnologia hace sentido (perdon, amo esta expresion, can't help it) sooner or later it'll end up catching up.