An article I wrote for Electronic Products.
The first touchscreen to recognize you by your fingerprints may change the way you interact with computers in public places
Going to the café to sip on some coffee while getting a bit of work done on your laptop may soon become even more convenient. Winding down with nothing but some fresh brew and a fingerprint-identifying touchscreen display on the table in front of you may not be so far-fetched.
Current touch displays cannot scan fingerprints and fingerprint sensors cannot display images, but according to researchers Christian Holz and Patrick Baudisch of the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany, what they invented does both.
Holz and Baudisch created their prototype, which is about the size of a large tablet, by using a glass screen made entirely of millions of 3-millimeter-long optical fibers bundled together into a single flat platter. Each fiber emits rays of visible light from an image projector below the glass, and an infrared light source alongside the projector bounces off the fingerprints and back to an infrared camera.
According to the researchers, early tests have yielded fingerprint recognition accuracy that’s up to FBI standards, and now they’re working on a touchscreen that won’t require a projector. They envision people in coffee shops being able to work or browse the Internet on large, interactive tabletops instead of lugging in their laptops or tablets.
Fingerprint-identifying tabletops may find their role in your local coffee shop in the future, as they’ll most likely cause customers to stay longer. The only downside is that storing users’ fingerprint data means that privacy issues will have to be addressed before the screen hits the market.
Let’s just hope that whenever these biometric touchscreens become public, those responsible for their maintenance keep them spotless and constantly disinfected.
Want to learn more about touch technology? Visit Mouser’s Touch Technology applications site.
Story via New Scientist.