Maybe the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar have received some criticism, but there is a section in which all analyzes seem to agree: the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor with the Touch ID system is great news for all users.
This system provides a convenient way to unlock the computer and also access all kinds of web services, including those that require authentication for electronic payment. We have seen other laptops integrating fingerprint sensors, but is this system better, or iris-aware cameras that we also started seeing on these devices?
A laptop is not a smartphone
The integration of fingerprint sensors in laptops is by no means new, and in fact for many years that various manufacturers integrate this type of system on their computers. Others begin to resume practice in their latest models, like the new Acer Swift.
These sensors have not been so popular that many had hoped, but everything has changed with smartphones: since Touch ID made its appearance on the iPhone 5s in 2013 fever by fingerprint sensors was extended, and fortunately today it is a feature that is unique not only because of the high range, but is reaching the entire spectrum of mobile devices on the market.
Microsoft tried something different with their Lumia 950 and XL 950: the integration of an iris recognition sensor instead of fingerprint, something that certainly was effective but in our analysis we found that was less comfortable.
The reason was obvious: the handling of the smartphone itself does much more natural and comfortable leverage a fingerprint sensor : do not look at the phone constantly, but what we do is have it in hand and our fingers are in direct contact with the device How much we want to use it. That does not happen with a laptop.
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Laptops: Footprint or iris?
On a laptop (or a desktop PC, by extension) the situation is as we said differently. One does not have access to this almost involuntary fingerprint sensor, but what it does do is constantly looking at the screen.
That makes it theoretically more natural to have a biometric system that takes advantage of that fact, and therefore the webcam that some teams begin to incorporate RealSense technology and are supported by Windows Hello can be very good idea. As with other platforms like Kinect, one simply has to get in front of the camera to unlock their user session.
This authentication operation seems therefore more direct and natural that resorting to fingerprint reader, which implies a voluntary action: one wants to unlock the computer, or access a website, or make a payment, and that is when perches The finger on the fingerprint reader. Is this solution better on laptops?
Authentication should not be involuntary … should it?
The argument that makes me doubt the recognition of iris in laptops is one that could also be applied to the fingerprint reader in smartphones: by taking advantage of an involuntary and inevitable action in that user experience (look at the screen of a laptop or pick up the mobile to do something with them) we risk that biometric release occurs whether we like it or not.
Whenever we are in front of the laptop or take the mobile do we want to unlock it? This may be true in many cases, yes, but not all. It may be that on a locked laptop we just look while we are taking a phone call just before we go to a meeting, or that on a mobile it is enough to see the notifications on screen without acting on them.
Precisely that circumstance may make the fingerprint reader a good choice for laptops also: “requires” the user to perform an action in an active and not passive.
The same could be said really mobile with fingerprint reader, but in them the solution is obvious: to any possible action that needs authentication, such as device- modify certain preferences we are asked again fingerprint. Actually, that same idea can and should be applied to laptops with iris recognition, so that again appears that doubt.
In my opinion, the fingerprint sensor is ideal for mobile devices and the iris which best suits and laptops and desktops (with a webcam compatible with Windows Hello). What do you think?