Microsoft mice get biometric

Microsoft Corp. has made fingerprint biometric technology an integral part of its keyboard and mouse peripherals with new products that mark the company's first foray into biometric devices.

In their announcement last week, Microsoft officials introduced new versions of Optical Desktop keyboard and Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer with fingerprint readers built in. They also introduced a stand-alone reader that attaches separately to a PC.

The Optical Desktop retails for $109 and the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer goes for $84.95. The stand-alone fingerprint reader is priced at $54.95.

The lack of easily accessed desktop fingerprint readers has been one of the main reasons cited by officials at biometrics companies for why the technology has not caught on faster in the general security and authentication markets.

However, earlier this year, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, Bill Gates, said biometrics is one of the keys to providing a "more transparent, secure and manageable security on a mass scale."

The company has already committed to integrating support for biometrics into the Windows operating system, and Gates urged industry to work hard to reduce the costs of biometrics and other security technologies such as smart cards.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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