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Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down – Intel Debuts Prototype Palm-Reading Tech to Replace Passwords [Poll]

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This week Intel debuted prototype palm-reading tech that could serve as a replacement for our current password system. Our question for you today is do you think this is the right direction to go for better security or do you feel this is a mistake?

Photo courtesy of Jane Rahman.

Needless to say password security breaches have been a hot topic as of late, so perhaps a whole new security model is in order. It would definitely eliminate the need to remember a large volume of passwords along with circumventing the problem of poor password creation/selection.

At the same time the new technology would still be in the ‘early stages’ of development and may not work as well as people would like. Long-term refinement would definitely improve its performance, but would it really be worth pursuing versus the actual benefits?

From the blog post: Intel researcher Sridhar Iyendar demonstrated the technology at Intel’s Developer Forum this week. Waving a hand in front of a “palm vein” detector on a computer, one of Iyendar’s assistants was logged into Windows 7, was able to view his bank account, and then once he moved away the computer locked Windows and went into sleeping mode.

The biometric sensors used on the laptop detect the unique vein patterns on a palm, which is of course far more difficult to forge than a password made up of ‘12345’ or ‘qwerty’.

What are your thoughts on replacing the current password system with palm-reading tech? Do you feel this is a natural (and good) progression for better security or is this a mistake? Share your thoughts in the comments!

[polldaddy poll=”6534997″]

You can read more about this new prototype tech by visiting the two posts linked below:

Your palm will be your next password [ZDNet]

With the wave of a hand, Intel wants to do away with passwords [Reuters]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 09/14/12

Comments (12)

  1. shinigamibob

    If it can read my fortune while logging me into my computer, sign me up.

  2. DaveS

    Logging into a local computer. Sure

    Logging into websites, I don’t think so. Not really sure I want my palm prints floating about among the interwebs.

  3. Argam

    If we get a cut on our palms then will it still recognize us?

  4. Michael

    The problem with any biometric along with false positives or incorrect rejection is that if the data gets stolen it can’t be changed. if someone steals the data that represents your fingerprint they can then pass that data to the authenticating system that requestes it in loo of an actual fingerprint (via clever software) I have some ideas on how this may be combated but i will not be posting this here.

  5. Thane

    Passwords are definitely a problem that biometrics could solve, so generally I’m OK with it. However, I would imagine that the palm print is turned into some type of data that gets sent for authentication. How long will it take for people to figure out how to spoof it?

    Can they take a print off of a glass at a restaurant and use it? Will we all need to wear gloves all the time to prevent our palm print passwords from being left lying around everywhere?

    What if my hand gets burned or i break my wrist and have my hand in a cast?

    Lot’s of potential concerns.

    Still probably beats morons using PASSWORD and ABC123 as their passwords for everything…

  6. Paul

    Good luck changing your password.

    I say no.

  7. Paul P.

    As I understand it, the procedure would detect palm vein patterns, not prints, so the “gloves” comment isn’t applicable. But I also wouldn’t want my biometrics out there on the web. For my personal computer log-in, then, OK.

  8. bedlamb


    Is that good enough?

  9. WhytteDragun

    @bedlamb: not quite. You need a symbol or 10 mixed in there.

  10. Maskput

    if i have a car accident and my hands end with cuts, how do I login?

  11. 0xRiddle

    AFAIK Latex surgical gloves -and similar stuff- can be used to copy one’s palm .

  12. Peter Craig

    Palm vein as the name suggests works at the vein level, so you can’t leave your “vein prints” behing on a surface, also as they are below the surface and only show up under near infrared light they are incredibly hard to fake, I don’t know of it ever being done, Fujitsu have been working with the tech for years.

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