With all this paranoia surrounding identity theft, we've seen fingerprint sensors on everything
from hard drives
to door locks
, but the common feature on all of those is the relative thickness of the device. By "relatively thick," we mean that these current tags would probably bulk up your wallet in a bad way should they ever be used to tag things like credit and debit cards. Seiko Epson is on top of it, however, and are developing a ridiculously thin (0.2mm) fingerprint sensor that will allow mobile devices to be easily secured by biometrics
. Potential applications, aside from deterring thieves from swiping your self-authenticating
credit card, are tagging cellphones, MP3 players, and essentially anything that can fit into your pocket. The sensor operates by reading the faint electric current that emanates from your fingertip and conveys your specific print pattern for verification -- if it detects somebody trying their best to mimic your phalanges, it deactivates the device, rendering it useless to the perpetrator. While there's a certain sense of security gained by having everything you own equipped with a fingerprint sensor, we can envision that sharing your tagged gadgetry with friends could become tricky, and while Seiko Epson can't quite put a finger on a release date, it's expecting 2010 before this goes full scale.
[Via Pink Tentacle