Passwords Could Be Obsolete With New Palm-Reading Technology
September 14, 2012

Intel Unveils ‘Palm-Reading’ Technology To Replace Passwords

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Intel unveiled on Thursday a new technology that could replace passwords used for social networks, online banking and other secure transactions with a simple wave of a hand.

The company´s researchers demonstrated a prototype of the technology using a tablet computer loaded with special software and a biometric sensor that recognizes the unique patterns of veins on a person's palm

"The problem with passwords -- we use too many of them, their rules are complex, and they differ for different websites," said Sridhar Iyengar, director of security research at Intel Labs, which works on identifying and solving future technology problems.

"There is a way out of it, and biometrics is an option,” Iyengar said during the annual Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Thursday.

Iyengar demonstrated the technology by rapidly waving his hand in front of the tablet. Once the device recognizes a user, it then securely communicates the identity to financial institutions, social networks and other services where a person may have secure accounts, he said.

Such a system would remove the need for users to remember and enter individual passwords at a variety of different websites, Iyengar added.

"We plan to work with service providers to take full advantage of this," he told Reuters.

Any device employing Intel´s palm-identification technology would use built-in accelerometers to detect when a user has set it down. The system would then automatically log the owner off to prevent unauthorized users from getting access.

While the technology requires new software and biometric sensors built into consumer devices, it does not require the development of any new kinds of chips, and works much better than the fingerprint scanners found on some laptops today, said Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner, who oversees Intel Labs.

The palm-reading prototype was one of several new technologies demonstrated during Rattner´s keynote address at the forum.

Others included enhanced cell-phone base stations and efficiency improvements to wireless connectivity of devices such as printers and tablets throughout the home.

Rattner also unveiled a prototype microchip with Wi-Fi technology that is made with digital -- rather than analog — circuitry. The chip could someday lead to dramatic improvements in performance and efficiency, he said.