New Security System for Mobile Devices
Manufacturers of mobile devices are working to improve the security of their access systems, a matter of concern for all users.
Fiberio: A Touchscreen That Recognises Fingerprints
One of the most innovative of these devices is Fiberio, which has been designed by the German researchers Christian Holz and Patrick Baudisch. It is the first touchscreen that recognises the fingerprints of any person.
The prototype has already been produced and everything would seem to suggest that the system is secure. Fiberio identifies the user through his or her fingerprints in every interaction carried out with the device in order to verify that the person in question is authorised to use it for this purpose.
Video showing how the Fiberio security system prototype works.
How the Prototype Works
The prototype uses a standard diffuse illumination system consisting of a high resolution camera, a projector and a source of light. According to the project’s Web page, Fiberio is a “multitouch” table which biometrically identifies users through their fingerprints in every interaction in which they touch the screen. The key element that makes it possible for Fiberio to show an image and detect fingerprints simultaneously is the material from which the screen is made. This is a fibre optic plate which can display images and sense fingerprints at the same time.
When its surface is touched, the fibre optic plate shows the user’s fingerprints. The fingerprint ridges in contact with the surface appear dark while the fingerprint valleys and “hovering” parts of the finger, which is to say those not in contact with the screen, appear brighter. The fibre optic plate diffuses the light from the projector while simultaneously reflecting light in much the same way as a mirror would, which then produces the contrast required for fingerprint sensing.
Creating and Memorising Passwords: A Thing of the Past
Fiberio is the first interactive tabletop system that frees users from having to invent and remember passwords.
Fiberio recognises both touch and “hovering” objects, for example the user’s fingers. Moreover, it recognises fiducial markers attached to tangible objects, as in the photograph above in which the circular marker attached to the cube measures only 3 x 3 mm.
The fibre optic plate used by Fiberio as a screen is made of thousands of very tiny glass fibres (of 6 micrometres in diameter). This blurs all incident light and, by scattering this light in all directions, functions as a very effective light diffuser, an essential quality for projecting output on the touchscreen.
Application in Banks
The system means that in bank offices, for example, it is possible to ensure that only branch managers can approve operations that exceed a certain amount of money. Other bank employees are authorised to engage only in transactions involving sums below certain approval limits.