Christian Holz and Patrick Baudisch of the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam have created what may be the world’s first touchscreen that can identify its user by scanning their fingerprint. The prototype consists of a glass screen made up of bundled optical fibers, each of which display light from an image projector beneath the screen, and an infrared light source that captures fingerprint data and sends it to an infrared camera. In a video demonstrating the device, testers move documents around on what looks like a large tabletop tablet.
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What’s the Big Idea?
Holz says, “Displays cannot scan fingerprints and fingerprint sensors cannot display images. What we have invented does both.” He and Baudisch see the system installed in places like coffee shops so that customers can leave their laptops at home, or in banks, where a customer could access secure documents and review them with a bank employee. While Holz claims the recognition software is “up to FBI standards,” privacy issues will have to be addressed, particularly around the possibility of the system’s storing users’ fingerprint information.