I still have hazy memory of the first every fingerprint sensor I used. It was on a HP Pavilion laptop almost a decade back. One needed to swipe the fingers on a tiny strip and with the right fingerprint the machine would let you in. Considered as a kind of wizardry those days, now its very different, even entry level $100 smartphones feature a fingerprint sensor and it is this piece of hardware that it slowly becoming yet another technology we would be living with.
On the contrary, the Fingerprint sensors on the laptops and other hybrid machines didn’t quite really pick up. It might be due to the very fact that one could maybe punch in password a lot quicker on a physical keyboard. This however doesn’t mean that Fingerprint sensors will never become mainstream on laptops, Synaptics, a company that is famous for its touchpad hardware and software is all set to unveil its first USB Fingerprint Reader.
The reader would not only enable biometric verification in all the laptops its plugged into, but it also does so at $50 or even less. The Natural ID secure fingerprint sensor will work more or less like a pendrive, plug it in and you are ready to go. With the ongoing efforts to replace the passwords by alternative authentication methods, it is hardware like these that will go a long way. As of now, the use case of fingerprint sensor is restricted to locking and unlocking but in all likelihood it will be of paramount importance in the near future. On a related note, Synaptics will not be directly involved in manufacturing the fingerprint scanners and instead they will be licensing the technology to other USB manufacturers.
Synaptics’ new Fingerprint module can usher in the biometric feature to any laptop and is certified by FIDO (Fast Identity Online) making it compatible with Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport. With the advent of such PC peripherals, it is very likely that the finger print sensors will make a comeback to laptops and most of us might also be using the same in a year or two.