Pentagon tests new biometric mouse

The Pentagon is testing a new biometric mouse from Siemens Corp. that uses fingerprint sensors to eliminate the need for multiple passwords and uses an infrared scanner instead of a mouse ball to eliminate maintenance concerns.

Siemens unveiled its ID Mouse Professional Nov. 13 at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, and the product is already undergoing test evaluations by the Pentagon, said Doris Weiser, international sales director for the Munich, Germany-based company. The firm's U.S. sales force is based in San Jose, Calif.

The ID Mouse Professional uses fingerprints to identify users based on unique characteristics, Weiser said. She added that the included software developer kit allows third parties to incorporate the product into existing security applications.

Replacing the traditional mouse ball with an infrared scanner means that the mouse can work on any smooth surface and does not wear out.

The standard software package accommodates 10 fingerprints per user account, and users can be added in less than 30 seconds. The tool is available for the various Microsoft Corp. Windows operating systems, and a software development kit for Linux is on the way, Weiser said.

The ID Mouse Professional also can be combined with a smart card and is available for a list price of $119, she said.

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