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Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) plan to do away with passwords for online services is like something out of a spy movie — the chip maker is experimenting with prototype technology for tablets and laptops that utilizes a biometric sensor to recognize 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 for Intel Labs, said at the annual Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Thursday, where he demonstrated the technology by waving his hand in front of a tablet, but not touching it.
Once a device recognizes its user, it can communicate that person’s identity to online banking services, social networks, and any other online account requiring authentication. The technology then takes the responsibility for identifying users from the various online platforms, and does away with the need to individually enter passwords into them, said Iyengar.
“We plan to work with service providers to take full advantage of this,” he said.
But the technology isn’t a simple app that can be downloaded to say Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad or iPhone — rather, it requires biometric sensors built into consumer devices, as well as new software. However, it does not require the development of any new kinds of chips, said Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner, who runs Intel Labs.
At the forum, Rattner also demonstrated prototype technology that would help improve cell-phone base stations, and wirelessly connect devices such as printers, tablets, and displays around the home.
As for the palm-recognition technology, it’s still in development, but Rattner said it works much better than the finger-print scanners found on some laptops today.
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