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Computer Fingerprint Scanners - Biometric Protection for Your PC

written by: Raunekk•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/25/2010

Computer fingerprint scanners are one of the latest technologies to get extra protection for your PCs and laptops. It is an easy way to escape the need to remember multiple passwords. Learn about the construction and workings of different types of computer fingerprints scanners available.

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    Computer Fingerprint Scanners

    Computer fingerprint scanners scan fingerprints of a user in order to allow access to a computer system or a website. Fingerprints are unique to each individual and this makes computer fingerprint scanning an excellent tool for security and identification purposes. Different types of fingerprint scanners are available on the market and they can easily be attached to a laptop or computer through a USB port.

    finger print scanner Image Credits: Finger print Scanner by hjl (

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    Fingerprints and the World of Computer Fingerprint Scanners

    People are born with fingerprints that are unique to them. These fingerprints are in the form of thin lines of varied shapes and design. Though the fingerprints actually help your hands to grip things easily, they have a unique characteristic that is formed through a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The fingerprint of each person in this world is unique, irrespective of his or her physical features. These fingerprints remain unique even for identical twins. While two fingerprints may look basically the same at a glance, a computer fingerprint scanner can easily pick out the difference between them. To know more, read this article about fingerprints.

    The uniqueness of fingerprints is the basic idea that runs behind fingerprint analysis. A computer fingerprint scanner scans fingerprints and compares it to other samples that are previously stored. The computer fingerprint scanner has two basic jobs: to get an image of your finger, and to determine whether the pattern of thin lines matches to those in the pre-scanned images stored in its database. The two methods by which an image of somebody’s fingerprint is procured are optical scanning and capacitance scanning.

    finger prints Image Credits : Finger Print by Chadmiller at Creative Commons/Flickr

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    Optical Scanning

    In optical scanning, the scanning process starts by place the finger on a glass plate and allowing a charge coupled device camera to take a picture of your fingerprint. The computer fingerprint scanner has its own light source, which includes an array of light emitting diodes, to illuminate the lines of the finger placed for scanning. The charge coupled system generates an inverted image of the finger with darker and lighter areas. Darker areas mean more reflected light and lighter means less reflected light. Before comparing the scanned fingerprint to those present in the stored data, the computer fingerprint scanner makes sure that the camera has captured a clean and clear image. Once this is done, the system proceeds to compare the captured fingerprint with those on stored files.

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    There are different types of computer fingerprint scanners available on the market today. It is important that you do your research properly before buying a computer fingerprint scanner that suffices all your requirements. The article lists some of the famous computer fingerprint scanners available on the market today.
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    Capacitative Scanner

    Similar to the optical scanner, capacitative fingerprint scanners also generate an image of the lines of the fingers, but instead of sensing the print using light, the capacitors use electrical current.

    The main advantage of a capacitative scanner is that it requires a real fingerprint like shape, rather than images formed of light and dark lines. This makes the system more effective and secured than the optical one.

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    Computer Fingerprint Scanners Available on the Market

    Computer fingerprint scanners help to simplify life by eliminating the need to remember multiple passwords. Every time you want to log into a website or a computer system, just place your finger on the computer fingerprint scanner and you have immediate access to them. However, these home computer fingerprint scanners are definitely not more secure than your password.

    The two main home computer fingerprint scanners available on the market are:

    1. The Microsoft optical scanner
    2. The Digital persona

    Digital Persona is better of the two optical scanners. This is because it cannot be easily hacked by potential hackers as it encrypts the template data. On the other hand, the Microsoft optical scanner does not encrypt print images. The level of security offered is the basic difference between home consumer fingerprint scanners and commercial fingerprint scanners.

    Some other computer fingerprint scanners available on the market are mentioned below:

    The Verifi reader fingerprint scanner for home use is the most secured scanner because it encrypts the fingerprint data, making it similar to commercial ones. The Eikon fingerprint scanner is a good solution for people who have lots of passwords to remember but keep forgetting them. This helps users not to search around for scraps of paper where they might have randomly scribbled their passwords. Up to twenty-one fingerprint templates can be stored on the Eikon scanner’s memory itself.

    The Digital Persona Pro fingerprint reader is also an excellent option for a scanner. It first insists on inputting your windows log-in password and then allows you to scan and store about one to ten fingerprints. This feature allows you to store fingerprints of trustworthy friends and family.

    To sum up, a computer fingerprint scanner can very easily be attached to a laptop or computer using a USB pin and is an excellent tool for advanced security for your computer. Many companies even make laptops and PCs with built-in computer fingerprint scanners. All the best laptops available on the market have computer fingerprint scanners with them.