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Security Hardware

Hardware That Recognizes You 472

Posted by michael
from the access-denied dept.
Amit Upadhyay writes "Gizmodo is reporting about extra funding for smart guns at NJIT. Few have qualms about it, mostly on the line of: would optical sensor for finger prints work when the hand is soaked with blood? Would you get time to enter the override code in an emergency? But if we remove speculative emergency situations, the technology seems to be interesting. While checking out Fingkey Hamster what struck me was, this is one passkey I will not mind publishing on my webpage, and it can't be cracked, unless hardware tampering takes place. Kind of thing that you can put in all the car ignitions and lockers where password entry using keyboard can become too obtrusive."
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Hardware That Recognizes You

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  • by Control Group (105494) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @10:57AM (#10734054) Homepage
    The problem with biometric security is always the same: once it's hacked, you're Screwed(tm) (that's a security-industry technical term).

    Given that nothing is unbreakable/unhackable/unspoofable, the real danger is putting into widespread use something that people believe to be unbreakable/unhackable/unspoofable. When you go to court because your gun was used in a shooting, everyone will "know" that you did it, since "no one else can fire the gun." Except we all know that no system is perfect, and someone else could have.

    Just as bad is the case of identity theft; the more that biometrics become used to verify identity, the more vulnerable you are to having your identity easily stolen. After all, it's perfectly reliable, so there don't need to be any other checks. The fingerprint/retina scan/brainwave pattern says the person is you, therefore s/he is. Even worse, once your identity has been suborned in this fashion, you can't get it back, since you can't change it.

    You can potentially address this by adding something like a PIN or password into the system, but that loses both the supposed benefits of the biometric identification and simply shifts the burden of security back where it's always been: remembering a unique piece of information that no one else has.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:05AM (#10734119)
      When you go to court because your gun was used in a shooting, everyone will "know" that you did it, since "no one else can fire the gun." Except we all know that no system is perfect, and someone else could have.

      People: did we learn nothing from the Judge Dredd film!

      • did we learn nothing from the Judge Dredd film

        Yep.

        1) Some of us (like film buffs) learned that it was pretty wretched and not nearly finely crafted enough, like, for example, 8 1/2, Rear Window, Fahrenheit 451, or 2001: ASO, to be called a film. It's more in the movie, or even down to the "flick" category.

        2) Some movies are better left unseen until they hit the dollar theatre or HBO.

        3) Putting a top draw star in a production does not mean it'll be worth watching.

        I'd say some of use learned a lot from
    • I own a gun for one reason, in case some one threatens my life or property in my home. As such, I'm really not worried about my gun being hacked, I doubt the burglar/vandal/rapist would think ahead to break in a night or two in advance and hack my gun.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        That isn't the issue. The issue is the burglar that came while you were out so you didn't catch him, but he stole the gun. Then he hacked the code and murdered someone. The gun is registered to you and 'only you can fire it', so you MUST have murdered this person you've never met, right?
    • They seem to be much more advanced than you think...

      from the Gizmodo article :
      "including [...] the pommels of swords and stuff."

      See...

      They can make an electronic system that stops me from using my +5 against orcs broadsword, turning it into a -2 agains cops, unsharpened steel stick !

      If they can unsharpen my broadsword in mid strike, they must have solved the puny details already 8)

      And they said I should stop playing AD&D ...
    • The fingerprint/retina scan/brainwave pattern says the person is you, therefore s/he is. Even worse, once your identity has been suborned in this fashion, you can't get it back, since you can't change it.

      Actually, this is really getting into the realm of science fiction, but you could use a modified deck. If you think of your brain as an organic CPU that has emissions that let people pick up on how it resonates, you could enclose it inside device/skull that doesn't let this emissions out, or changes them
    • What is that the plot of the next Tom Cruise movie?

    • by merphle (744723) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:22AM (#10734295)
      You can potentially address this by adding something like a PIN or password into the system, but that loses both the supposed benefits of the biometric identification and simply shifts the burden of security back where it's always been: remembering a unique piece of information that no one else has.
      There are three forms of authentication.
      • Something you have (ID card)
      • Something you know (PIN)
      • Something you are (Fingerprint)
      From what I've read (Google the above terms, plus "authentication"), most people consider authentication based on any one of those insufficient. Authentication based on two of the above is generally sufficient, and based on all three is ideal.
    • As DNA put it: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gidds (56397) <slashdot.gidds@me@uk> on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:05PM (#10734640) Homepage
      (meaning the late and much-lamented Douglas Adams, not his or anyone else's deoxyribonucleic acid):
      "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."
      He was talking about devices such as air-conditioning systems, but I think the principle applies here just as much.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @10:59AM (#10734076)
    hardware reocgnizes YO--oh, crap
  • Bogus. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's already been well-covered that fingerprint-based biometric solutions all fail in the face of some guy with a jello model of someone's fingerprint. Pretty pathetic in terms of security if you ask me.

    On another note, Trollaxor has returned to Slashdot and has posted sdem's interview with him [slashdot.org].

    • Re:Bogus. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by julesh (229690)
      As the only security model they don't make sense.

      As an additional one that doesn't replace any other, and which everyone is made aware they shouldn't depend on, I don't see a problem.

      Other than that "emergency situation" thing, which we're supposed to be ignoring, but which is actually kind of serious.
      • As an additional one that doesn't replace any other, and which everyone is made aware they shouldn't depend on, I don't see a problem.

        Then why use it at all? Why not identify and fix the problems in the other process and avoid this one completely?

        Otherwise ...

        Case A: You're adding a known broken authentication method to a system that already has good authentication. What are you gaining?

        Case B: You're adding a known broken authentication method to a system that depends upon a different known broken authe

    • *You* try accurately firing a handgun while holding a gob of jello on it. Not so easy, is it?
      • If you wanted to use smeone's gun, you'd have to now in advance both that you would need to use their gun, and what their fingerprint looked like.

        for most cases where you'd have access and desire to use a firearm that was not yours, you most likely would nothave had the chance to prepare a jello mold of the owner's fingerprint in advance.
      • depends. Is the shooter sitting on the victim's chest with the muzzle screwed into the poor bastard's ear?

        bit of slippery gel on the fingers while the victim struggles and begs might mean the difference between hitting the brain stem or just blowing the entire motor cortex out of his head.

        same difference.
  • Gun emergencies? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Esteanil (710082) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:01AM (#10734092) Homepage Journal
    "But if we remove speculative emergency situations, the technology seems to be interesting."

    And as we all know, guns are never used in emergencies...
    • I've always been torn on this sort of thinking...

      When I was a in college (in the US) I read that many gun owners put themselves in situations that were dangerous, just because subconsiously they knew they had the gun. I never put much store in it until a friend wound up in trouble for what was essentially road rage (although in 1985 it wasn't called that). I lived with this man for 5 years in school and I thought he was more sedate than I was, I was shocked to learn that he had waved a pistol at a man who

      • What you're saying is that if you can't demonstrate a basic level of intelligence, you shouldn't be able to shoot/own a gun or get pregnant. I'd take it a step further and say that if you're too stupid to care for your kids or respect the power of a gun, you should probably have your kids taken away and your gun can be used to remove you from the gene pool.

        At least, that's what my scary, gun-toting, overly cynical co-worker says we should do.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This desire is only coming from those that believe American violence is caused by inherently evil objects: namely guns. This will do NOTHING to stop gun violence, but will make it less likely that a person could use these objects to defend themselves.
  • by mdudzik (772902) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:02AM (#10734100)
    You don't get thrown out into the cold night. At least not all of you.
  • by 3770 (560838)
    So lets say that the police force is equipped with this.

    Now, what if you and your partner is fighting a bad guy. Your partner gets gunned down and you are out of bullets and reach for his gun to return fire.

    You don't want to spend time having to get his magazine out and put it in your gun. You want to reach down and use it.

    So, ideally, all police guns should be able to recognize all officers in the same precinct or something like that.

    Is that feasible with todays technology?
    • by bje2 (533276) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:05AM (#10734122)
      if you read the story...

      "By using a series of sensors along the grip, the gun can determine who is holding it and can even support multiple users."
      • Maybe this is too TV movie, but are you telling me there has never been a police/military life saved when he was disarmed and someone else managed to get a hold of their gun and protect them?

        I don't know about you, but I'm not going to be that guy that kicks the gun into a ditch. I'm going to pick it up and try to return fire, ESPECIALLY if I see a cop being shot at.
    • Just have RFID rings, changed daily so that TheBadGuys(TM) don't get them. any ring would work for all guns.

      Or they could go one step further and go from smart guns to genius guns and use pubkey auth, each gun has all policeforces rings with an expirey date of maybe a week. Someone loses their ring? revoke the key. Each gun could sync with a device in the car.

      Of course, then when the terrorists find a way to mass-revoke all keys in new york right before a massive attack..
    • Where do you live, Falluja? Thats a highly likely scenario you just decribed there, bound to happen at least every other day of the week. Definitely sufficient to kill this biometric security idea stone dead.

      I'm a bit curious about these disposable guns you use there as well. They become useless when the bullets runs out and cant be used again with spare ammo from someone else? Or do both cops carry guns but only one has extra bullets?
      • Idiot. He's not saying they're disposable. He's saying that (in that situation) it would be quicker to grab your partner's gun and shoot it than to grab your partner's gun, switch magazines between it and yours, then shoot your own gun. It's a perfectly feasible situation.
    • The article said it can be programmed to recognize multiple users. So, I am assuming all members of the police force would be made users of all guns owned by the department.

      And by the way... in NJ, the first state with an idiotic smart gun law, federal, state and local law enforcement officers and members of the armed forces and the National Guard serving in New Jersey are exempt from the law.

      Funny, the technology isn't reliable enough for them to use, but it is for me. Nice!

      Here's a good article on w [popularmechanics.com]
    • I have no idea if this can be implemented or not.

      Anyway, the main reason why this idea gets so much attention to become implemented, is that statistically a lot of police officers get killed with their own gun.

      So someone thinks:
      disable cop gun for anyone else => no more cops get shot

      Stupid logic which will not work, but the weapon industry and their sales people have seen a new opportunity to sell a lot of guns to police forces over the whole world.

      It only takes a little logic to consider that the fi
      • You and I must watch a different 'Cops', I guess. When I tune in, I see the men in blue frequently get involved in physical tussles and rolling around on the ground trying to get a perp pinned down.

        And you are claiming that the most common scenario is a perp makes an officer hand over his gun and kills him execution style? If you don't see how somebody would grab the gun from an officers holster or wrestle it from his hands then use it against him, I don't think you're looking very hard.

        Given that cops
  • In Soviet Russia (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RangerRick98 (817838)
    In Soviet Russia, this joke will be WAY too overused for this article.
  • The specs on this things say it support "various OS"...what is various by only M$ OS'? That's pretty lame...
  • by FrenZon (65408) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:04AM (#10734117) Homepage
    ... is one passkey I will not mind publishing on my webpage ...

    So, you wouldn't mind putting an image of your fingerprint on a webpage, where it can be downloaded and printed in gelatin, and then used to unlock all of your devices forever, thus excluding you from ever using fingerprint based security?

    Which, as another poster suggested, raises the great problem with a lot of biometric security - as soon as it's defeated - someone taking a gelatin mold of your fingerprint, someone making a nice glass replica of your eye (for example), you're doomed - EVERYTHING you access then becomes invalid. Sure, you can just use your remaining eye, or fingers, but those are a finite resource .. it's like putting all your eyes in one squishy basket

  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Guitar Wizard (775433) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:05AM (#10734126) Homepage Journal
    I have always thought that a large-scale fingerprinting implementation would be helpful for a lot of things -- just think about never having to carry a wallet again -- rather, you would simply scan your fingerprint for whatever business you were involved in (making a purchase, showing proof of ID, etc.). A system like that would be convenient, but it's also really centralized, so there would definately be a "big brother" out there watching us.

    As far as security goes, I would risk saying that is is much harder to dabble in fingerprinting than other forms of identity theft. If credit cards could be swiped and then authenticated with a fingerprint scan, I think we would have much less trouble with theft in that area as the technology to duplicate fingerprints doesn't seem to be widely available (how many people do you know who can do it?).

    Anyhow, that's just my two pennies. Just hope that someone doesn't cut off your fingertips at night!
    • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ledow (319597) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:17AM (#10734244) Homepage
      Problems with fingerprint scanners are legendary, especially when your fingerprint is so easy to collect, glasses, ATM's, a handshake. There was a study not long ago on Slashdot that showed that about 90% of fingerprint scanners can be fooled by things like gelatine.

      And you think the retailers would want to buy a big expensive foolproof machine for every shop in the world or just something cheap that can read a fingerprint?

      It was hard enough moving them over to what we in the UK call Chip-and-PIN where we've done away (or are going to do away) with signatures and use a four digit code. That's been years in the making and still not completely functional. I can still say "Oh, I haven't been sent a number for that card yet" and they let you sign for the transaction, much like previously.

      No, I still say the best system for things like credit cards etc. is to have some sort of graphical. When you swipe the card, the owners picture appears for verification (sent direct from the credit card company, maybe chosen from a few random photographs from different angles, clothing etc.) Much more big brother, I know.

      If the person in front of you does not look like the owner, you refuse the transaction. Put this on top of things like Chip-and-PIN and signatures and you've got it made. Only an CC company insider could realistically beat it and then they would be accountable (I would hope that every account created had a traceback history for which staff member created it, one that is unwriteable after creation.).

      If the retailer tries to run a stolen credit card through to make a few fake transactions, and presses Yes to ID the photo, there's always the Chip-and-PIN to fall back on that he must know. But it means you can't stroll in just any shop with a stolen credit card and take someone else's money.
    • My wife's company is in the processs of implementing a fingerprint ID system to replace the current system of magentic badges to open doors in their building. As a geek I thought this was a cool project, but it turns out that a lot of the workers are refusing to give their fingerprints to the company, even though they are only used for opening doors. Anyway, as biometrics become more common, we might see the general public backlash against the technology based just on paranoia.
  • Ring lock (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RandoX (828285) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:06AM (#10734134)
    Another interesting option for firearms is a ring lock [smartlock.com]. It uses a magnetic ring to unlock the firearm, which keeps the weapon from being taken during a struggle and used against the owner. Since the decline in popularity in magnetic media, unpleasant side effects of wearing a magnetic ring seem to be less of an issue.

    Sounds like a great idea for cops, though.
    • I think better than a ring lock using magnets would be one using an RFID chip embedded in your own ring, which would authenticate you with a chip in the guns grip.

      I'd like my car doors and ignition and my house to let me in based on this, too.

    • Erm ... ok. And what keeps criminals from wearing their own magnetic rings?
  • Cool! (Score:5, Funny)

    by HarveyBirdman (627248) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:07AM (#10734143) Journal
    Build a gun that only shoots robots and not humans, and we can construct Westworld! [imdb.com]

    Well, we need fuckable hooker robots, too, but, hey, they're just around the corner.

    Or they would be if the techno-wizzes of the world would stop mucking about with tablet computers and first-person shooter game engines, and deliver to the world what it really wants.

  • Smart Holsters! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zobeid (314469) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:07AM (#10734147)
    A few years ago, a prototype of a smart holster was shown -- it wouldn't let you draw the gun from it unless it recognized your fingerprints. Although this wasn't perfect, it seemed very promising, and it seems like an idea that many people would find more acceptable than smart guns.

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is _151_25/ai_70380673 [findarticles.com]

    Smart guns conjure up a lot of fears from gun owners. There's a fear that "smart" technology might be required on new guns. There's a fear that they might be too expensive, or unreliable (batteries gone dead), or that it might be possible to disable them remotely with something like EMP. Don't laugh, it's already possible to stop many motor vehicles this way.

    Smart holsters could provide practically all of the same benefits without all the associated fear.
  • What if... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rubberbando (784342) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:08AM (#10734154)
    What if this is combined with RFID tags under a persons skin so that only 'authorized' people may use guns? If the people wish to revolt, a government could just send out a signal to take away any non-military personell's authorization to use guns and stop them in their tracks.
  • by KontinMonet (737319) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:08AM (#10734160) Homepage Journal
    My (patented) self-cloning kit (instructions below) will break this security system in no time. In fact, I suspect MS are already flagging it on their all-new security alert system.
    -----------
    Self-cloning Instructions (Pat. pending)
    Go fuck yourself.
  • by a_hofmann (253827) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:12AM (#10734196) Homepage
    The temptation is big: current technology will soon allow us to do any ID recognition by biometrics data with very cheap methods. This special application is just one of many examples where applying this technology would make sense.

    The thing I dislike about any biometrics solutions is that in order for them to work, they need a method of identifying you as a person, Being that fingerprint, iris recognition or facial properties.

    Thus every access to biometrically controlled systems allow a unique connection between your ID data and your person. This may be wanted in many situations, but with biometrics there just is no alternative to anonymity anymore.

    The widespread use of biometrics will inevitably lead to the "transparent citizen" as the option of anonymity will just fade away with the disappearance of alternative identification methods.
    • What I dislike about biometrics is the consequences of someone compromising the system. At the moment if someone steals my passcode or a key card I can be issued another one.

      No one is proposing a method of reissuing retinas or fingerprints. If biometrics are used large scale and someone manages to make a fake eyeball or finger that can fool the sensors for a particular application, that information will be permanently useless as a method of identification, leaving the victim to suffer life-long consequenc
  • by jstave (734089) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:13AM (#10734206)
    But if we remove speculative emergency situations, the technology seems to be interesting.

    Given that this is for smart guns, I'm a little concerned with what appears to be the suggestion that emergency situations are rare and not worth much consideration. With the exception of practice on the firing range, all situations a handgun is being used are emergency situations. As such, something like the technology not working if the users hand has blood (or grease or dirt...) on it is a show-stopper.

  • Looking at the Fingkey Hamster website, I see that it supports "Various OS and USB interfaces." Interesting! Must work on lots of different platforms, then... Where's the list? Oh... I see. They meant lots of Windows operating systems; Win 95, 98, NT4.0, 2000, ME, and XP. And it supports USB 1.0 and 1.1. Well, that's a wide variety....

    Now then, what is this good for? Oh... "PC-infra security applications." PC-infra? What the heck is that? I would assume, based on the word-roots, that they mean s
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I will _never_ buy one of these weapons. Also I will not support the company that makes these weapons.

    Just as I fight as hard as one person can for my electronic freedoms and my freedom to own a general purpose non-DRM'ed computer. I will fight extra hard to make sure I can still defend myself without having to prove to some device I am who I say I am.

    Just as DRM is a cancer on computing rights, these kinds of measures are a cancer on our guns rights.

    Remember, DRM and gun laws (read "safer gun") is about
  • Guns have to work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nels_tomlinson (106413) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:18AM (#10734259) Homepage
    Guns have to work, always. If you can't trust your gun to work, you might be better off without it.

    Electronics just aren't reliable enough to trust, particularly fancy finger-print-reading or AI-grip-recognizing electronics.

    Technological fixes to social problems are usually bad ideas, and I think that this is a great example of that.

  • Repeat after me: Gun violence is not a technology problem, it is a social problem.

    Besides, its not like someone won't come up with an "override glove" or something...

    Is it not enough that LEO's put their life on the line every day? Now they want to chip them like the family dog?
  • by mykepredko (40154) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:22AM (#10734287) Homepage
    For years I've heard stories about how New Jersey is trying to clean up its image as a mob run, violent state and here's the New Jersey Institute of Technology working at improving hand gun technology?

    My first thought on seeing this news item is that I didn't even know there was a New Jersey Institute of Technology, but if anybody would be doing research into hand guns, this would be the outfit. It just seems like an easy topic for a Leno/Letterman monolog ("Why did they choose the New Jersey Institute of Technology for designing the gun? Because of the opportunities for real world testing! Because shipping costs would be so low!").

    myke
  • Bad, bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:22AM (#10734293)
    No serious gun owner would want this. No police officer would ever use this. When you need your gun to fire, it has to work. There's no room for error.

    A lot of serious gun owners won't even use handguns with a safety. Because if the safety is on in the fraction of a second you it to work, you're dead.
    • Re:Bad, bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zak3056 (69287) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:04PM (#10734635) Journal
      No serious gun owner would want this. No police officer would ever use this. When you need your gun to fire, it has to work. There's no room for error.

      I agree completely. The story submitter obviously doesn't understand any of the issues involved, particularly due to his flip dismissals. "Few have qualms," and "figurative emergency situations," my ass. The only people that don't have qualms are those who are trying to push legislation requiring this, and frankly the WORST time for a firearm to have a problem is when you desperately need it! The idea that "it only won't work if you're covered in blood" is absurd on it's face--if I'm covered in blood, I probably have more need of a working gun that at any time in my life, which is quite possibly about to end.

      In short, this entire story should be modded, -1, Clueless.

      A lot of serious gun owners won't even use handguns with a safety. Because if the safety is on in the fraction of a second you it to work, you're dead.

      Now this, I disagree with. While I like my Glocks, particularly for the reason you describe (the KISS principle is in play here--the only thing you need remember to do is aim and pull the trigger) pistols like the 1911 are excellent defensive guns even though there are multiple external safety devices that need to be disengaged before firing.

      The key is, of course, training--anybody who knows how to use a 1911 will tell you that disengaging the safeties adds no time and minimal complexity. The grip safety is deactivated simply by grasping the weapon, and the thumb safety should come off as the weapon is being presented. By the time the gun is on target, it's in the same condition as a Glock would be.

      One need look no further than IPSC and IDPA competition shooting--sports that are all about speed, speed, speed--to reinforce this. 1911 based guns are the preferred choice of all the top competitors.

  • I saw 'smart guns' and 'NJIT' and all I could think of was this [www.cbc.ca].

  • by Glock27 (446276) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:51AM (#10734525)
    From the Wired article:
    The chip needs no battery or power source. It works much like those that have been implanted in pets over the past decade so they can be identified if they get lost.

    First off (for the rare individuals that didn't read the article) this approach DOES involve planting an RFID chip in the shooter. I somehow think this won't fly with most gun owners! (It also doesn't address shooting with the "off" hand.)

    Secondly, the above quote incorrectly implies that the "smart gun" won't need a battery. It will need one, both to detect the RFID tag and to mechanically inhibit firing the gun.

    It's bad technology. Guns should be as simple as possible, for reliability. Laser sights are bad enough - and not widely used for many reasons, dead batteries among them.

    They do look cool in movies though... ;-)

  • I notice in the Wired link that Metal Storm is involved. What have these guys ever done besides get some kinds of IP rights to a fancy, electronically controlled version of the roman candle and then parlay that into lots and lots of publicity? Has Metal Storm ever gotten anything new or revolutionary into production and then into reasonably widespread deployment?

    I always get an involuntary whiff of snake oil when these guys are mentioned. I'd like to be proven wrong. I'm open to it. Anybody?
  • by the_twisted_pair (741815) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:08PM (#10734660)
    Anyone who does graphic or presentation work knows such tech is already built into large-format colour printers.

    These things are actually dimly sentient, and cantankerous to boot. I swear they know when you're under pressure from an immoveable deadline. That's when they chose to break down/clog heads/eat your last sheets of glossy presentation material at 5am / have the driver b0rk...

    It's the reason we call them plotters

  • by WebCowboy (196209) on Friday November 05, 2004 @01:38PM (#10735543)
    The technology is not quite mature enough to be practical or reliable for many uses. Even worse, the novelty of the idea means the technology is applied inappropriately.

    The article sumary makes this comment:

    Kind of thing that you can put in all the car ignitions and lockers where password entry using keyboard can become too obtrusive.

    These are exactly two places where present technololgy does NOT work well (or the stuff that works well is too expensive). The West Edmonton Mall is the worlds biggest, so as a convenience they have lockers for patrons to use as they shop. Additionally, there are lockers at the water park. The mall has recently started implementing biometrics for locker access, starting at the water park.

    Let me tell, you that was THE BIGGEST MISTAKE and waste of money they could've done. I'd rather have kept the keypad and used the cost savings to lower rates (a small locker costs $6 for a day). In the water park, you get wet. The fingerprint readers to not work on wet fingers. You also get cold, and the surface of your fingers gets wrinkly and shrink slightly. This also makes the reader inoperative. Half the time, you have to dry off and warm your hands thoroughly under the air dryer before you can open your damn locker. It took me 10 minutes of trying.

    Furthermore, the software is too primitive to allow multiple fingerprints to open a locker so if you share a locker to save money the person who opened the locker has to get everyone elses posessions. There is also the accessibility issue. I have a friend that has no hands due to birth defects. He could not use fingerprint biometrics and the reader is not designed to practically accommodate toe prints.

    The idea of using fingerprints on car ignitions at this point is also ill-advised at this point. The technology is either too picky to reliably read the scan, or too forgiving that it allows false reads. I forsee being locked out of my car during inclement weather. In April my fingers will be too wet during rainstorms to work, and in the winter they will be too cold. I get -30 degree temperatures in January where I live. I do NOT want to have to take off my mitts and fiddle with a thumbprint lock until I get frostbite, so I'm gonna need a key to get in the car. I might as well use that key to start the car too.

    It's the same thing with firearms and such. Even in non-emergency situations like hunting I'm sure the user doesn't want to futz around with some biometric safety lock scheme, and I'm even more sure they don't want to pay significantly more for the gun because of the added feature when a mechanical safety has sufficed until now. Also, the same problems apply--it could malfunction if our fingers are cold, wet or dirty which could likely happen.

    Technology for technology's sake is just silly. If it doesn't make something work better or cost less without affectig usability then it shouldn't be used. I do NOT need electronics in my toaster, my coat keeps me warm just fine without being "smart" and I'm not so brain dead I cannot remember the combination to my locker. Just leave it all be please.

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