| SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 13
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 13 Passwords for online
banking, social networks and email could be replaced with the
wave of a hand if prototype technology developed by Intel makes
it to tablets and laptops.
Aiming to do away with the need to remember passwords for
growing numbers of online services, Intel researchers have put
together a tablet with new 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," Sridhar Iyengar, director of security research at
Intel Labs, said at the annual Intel Developer Forum in San
Francisco on Thursday. "There is a way out of it, and biometrics
is an option."
Iyengar demonstrated the technology, quickly waving his
hand in front of a tablet but not touching it. Once the tablet
recognizes a user, it can securely communicate that person's
identity to banks, social networks and other services where the
person has accounts, he said.
Making laptops, tablets and smartphones responsible for
identifying users would take that requirement away from
individual websites and do away with the need to individually
enter passwords into each of them, Iyengar said.
"We plan to work with service providers to take full
advantage of this," he said.
A device using the technology would use built-in
accelerometers to detect when a user puts it down, and would
then log its owner off to keep unauthorized people from getting
The palm-identification technology was one of several
demonstrations during a keynote address by Intel Chief
Technology Officer Justin Rattner at the forum. Rattner runs
Intel Labs, which focuses on identifying and solving future
Rattner also showed prototype technology to improve
cell-phone base stations and to efficiently and wirelessly
connect devices such as printers, tablets and monitors
throughout the home.
He debuted a prototype microchip with wifi technology made
with digital circuitry instead of analog, a development that has
the potential to lead to major improvements in performance and
The palm-reading technology, still under development,
requires new software and biometric sensors built into consumer
devices, but does not require the development of any new kinds
of chips, Rattner said.
The technology works much better than the finger-print
scanners found on some laptops today, he said.