Fingerprint tech foiled by Play-Doh

As if further testament to the power of Play-Doh were needed, researchers at Clarkson University in New York have used the luminous modelling clay to

As if further testament to the power of Play-Doh were needed, researchers at Clarkson University in New York have used the luminous modelling clay to foil biometric fingerprint security.

The process is simple. Take some dental mould, make a cast of the finger, bung in some Play-Doh, take it out and, hey presto, one identical 'finger' capable of fooling nine out of ten scanners.

It's a worry for the likes of IBM which has been equipping its laptops with the technology.

And the chaps at Clarkson haven't been given $3 million just to play with Play-Doh all day. They've also been chopping fingers off dead bodies to see how they fare. And, what do you know, they're not bad at fooling security systems either.

All of which goes to show that scanners are great at recognising fingerprints – but not so god when it comes to actually telling whether they're attached to the original owner or not.

The solution, according to the team at Clarkson, is for scanners to also analyse sweat patterns. Our fingers have a pretty distinct way of secreting the stuff – starting from the pore and then spreading along the ridges. By looking for this 'signature' the scientists reckon they can make the technology 90 per cent accurate.

Just as well, because we'd rather not get mugged for our fingers as well as our laptops.

Related link:

Clarkson