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07 May 2008, 15:25

Please touch: access token transmits signals via human skin

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Soon, you could be able to authenticate yourself simply by touching a doorknob – yet neither your fingerprints nor the vein pattern in your hand will be scanned. Instead, the doorknob will read a signal sent by a special transmitter via your skin. Developed by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT), the RedTacton system uses the minute electrical field that exists on the surface of the human body to transmit a modulated 5 MHz carrier. The technology, called Human Area Networking (HAN), reportedly has one major advantage over wireless access control systems, such as RFID: the signals transmitted are hard to tap.

NTT sells an evaluation kit for its Firmo authentication solution for around £3,900 for those who want to test drive the technology. The access token is a thick credit card size transmitter that will work from inside a shirt pocket. It constantly transmits an ID at around 230 kB/s. According to Japanese media, the kit includes five tokens, a receiver, and a contact plate for the receiver.

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