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Insert Coin: PIPA Touch fingerprint reader lets phone owners authenticate most anything

Insert Coin: PIPA Touch fingerprint reader lets phone owners authenticate most anything
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|December 12, 2012 8:31 AM

In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you'd like to pitch a project, please send us a tip with "Insert Coin" as the subject line.

Mobile security beyond PIN codes and passwords is usually a tentative affair. There's fingerprint readers, but they're often specific to the device or the platform, and sometimes limited to just a handful of tasks. Team PIPA wants to raise funds for a more universal solution. Its PIPA Touch scanner can add biometric authentication to phones' lock screens, websites and other tasks through a developer kit, and a modular design lets it slip into cases for the Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices that should receive support. Security goes beyond most fingerprint readers, as well: while a basic swipe-and-done scan is an option, the truly cautious can require a multi-scan sequence that fends off just about any intruder.

Should you love the idea of putting technology on lockdown, it takes a $59 investment ($79 if you miss early adopter rates) plus $10 in shipping to qualify for a scanner and a matte black case. Spending $89 or $99 respectively upgrades to a carbon fiber or aluminum case, and $119 or more will deliver multiple cases to your door. Provided Team PIPA reaches its $100,000 goal, the development kit should be available as a beta in March, although the PIPA Touch readers and cases are poised to ship in May. For some, the wait might be trivial when there's the promise of tough security that could follow them as they change phones or entire operating systems.

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Previous project update: The Transporter connected drive has advanced by leaps and bounds since we covered it just days ago, racking up $63,665 as of this writing. However, it's still some distance from its $100,000 funding target with a month left to go. We'd look at chipping in if you value a hardware-based approach to secure online sharing.

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Insert Coin: PIPA Touch fingerprint reader lets phone owners authenticate most anything