Toshiba outfits laptops with fingerprint reader

This fingerprint reader will provide a higher level of security as well as convenience, because users will not have to remember passwords nor key in their user names, the companies said.

Toshiba's PC Card Fingerprint Reader will be made of Identix's DFR-300 optical fingerprint reader and BioLogon security software.

"It's been designed with a very convenient form factor," said Mike Chaudoin, director of marketing at Identix. "When you press of the side of the card where it's installed, it slides out. You place your finger on it, and then it slides back into the casing."

The fingerprint reader scans the finger image and matches it against the previously authenticated identification. Users can start their computers only if the fingerprint is authenticated. The Toshiba PC Card Fingerprint Reader works even when the computer system goes to "sleep."

The Toshiba PC Card Fingerprint Reader supports multi-user environments where a number of users can store their user names and passwords on a single mobile computer, which can be accessed by authenticating their fingerprints.

Once the computer is up and running, the BioLogon software stores user names and passwords in a password bank. "All your passwords can be conveniently stored in the password bank and released with the correct authentication," said Chaudoin.

Users can log on to a Windows NT or Windows 2000 server as well as the local operating system and program it to release information. Identix is working to make the product compatible with other operating systems.

"It's a combination of convenience and security," said Chaudoin, speaking about the advantages of the product. "Typically, when you add security to a system, it makes the system harder to use. The Toshiba fingerprint reader ... improves the security of the system, [and] also makes it easier to use."

Toshiba has not announced when it will ship the product.

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