New products unwrapped at FOSE

Introducing the latest in biometrics, tough notebook PCs and flat panel displays

Biometrics, tough notebook computers and snazzy flat panel displays were hot attractions in the exhibit hall at the FOSE trade show held earlier this month in Washington, D.C. Here are some highlights of new products in those areas.

What’s in your palm?
It can’t predict the future, but the latest version of Fujitsu’s PalmSecure product does an excellent job of increasing security.

PalmSecure is a biometric authentication device that uses near-infrared rays to capture an image of veins in the palm of a hand. The company announced the second-generation version of the product at the show.

This model is about one-fourth the size of the previous one, measuring only 35 millimeters x 35 millimeters. It comes in a USB version that can connect to a laptop PC for portable authentication, or it can be embedded into desktop PC keyboards.

The device would also be useful for physical access, health care and other related applications. This new model also boasts a 1.5-second authentication speed, which is twice as fast as the first version.

PalmSecure works by detecting deoxidized hemoglobin in the veins, which absorbs the near-infrared rays and causes them to appear as a black pattern. The device encrypts the pattern and converts it to fit a template, which PalmSecure verifies against a preregistered template to authenticate the user.

Using palm vein patterns for authentication offers several advantages. First, the detection of deoxidized hemoglobin ensures the veins are from a live person, thereby foiling criminals who might try to trick the system by presenting, for example, a photograph of a vein pattern.

Another advantage is that palms have many thick veins, which are less susceptible to constriction because of cold temperatures, unlike veins on the back of the hand, for example.

In addition, the reader does not require physical contact, so it’s more hygienic and less susceptible to inaccuracy because of smudges than products such as fingerprint readers. This version of PalmSecure will be available by the end of June 2006.

Panasonic Toughbook pumps up the power
Panasonic’s latest laptop aimed at government users, the Toughbook 74, is the dual-core processor version of the Toughbook 73.

In addition to the new processor type, the Toughbook 74 features an increased battery life of as long as eight hours and a daylight-readable touch-screen display.

A Secure Digital card reader comes standard with the system, and options include integrated Evolution-Data Optimized or Enhanced Data GSM Environment wireless networking, Bluetooth, a smart card reader and a fingerprint scanner.

Government users will especially appreciate the Trusted Platform Module Version 1.2 security. The module is a microcontroller chip mounted on the motherboard that stores passwords and digital certificates. It helps keep information secure from external software attacks and physical theft.

The rugged laptop has a full magnesium alloy case, covers on all ports, a spill-resistant keyboard and touchpad, and a shock-mounted hard drive.

Widescreen flat panel LCD monitors
Eizo Nanao Technologies introduced the first two models in a new series of LCD flat panel monitors, called the Creator Edition (CE). The new 21-inch CE210W and 24-inch CE240W join Eizo’s ColorEdge line of high-end professional monitors and bring several significant new features to the table.

One feature is a 16-10 aspect ratio, which translates to increased horizontal viewing space. The dimensions almost match DVD widescreen content, which features a 16-9 aspect ratio . In comparison, conventional monitors have a 4-3 aspect ratio.

The 21-inch model features a native resolution of 1680 x 1050, and the 24-inch model’s resolution is 1920 x 1200. The screen is wide enough to view two A4-sized pages simultaneously while leaving enough room around the perimeter of the screen to open tool palettes.

The ColorEdge CE monitors also boast a patented brightness stabilization circuit developed by Eizo. A constant brightness level is important for the proper display of color, and this software stabilizes the brightness level within minutes after starting up or waking from power save mode. By contrast, most monitors need one to two hours before they achieve stable brightness.

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