I’m a big fan of movies that highlight technology; particularly security technology. I love movies in which biometrics such as facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, and eye recognition systems play an important role. Inevitably, in this type of movie, the bad guys fumble the job of trying to defeat these systems.
So, when I recently came across a free biometric login solution, based on facial recognition, I could hardly wait to try it out (and yes, take the opportunity to play the role of a bad guy and attempt to defeat it).
I’ll cut right to the chase – defeating this impressive free application was an absolute no go. The only way to login automatically was by presenting my real face, and only MY face, to the camera.
I wasn’t really surprised. After all, the developers of Luxand Blink are specialists in artificial Intelligence, and biometric identification technologies. According to their web site, “Luxand technologies are used at online entertainment portals, chat rooms and movie Web sites around the globe.”
Installing Luxand Blink was a snap. The setup automatically detected the make and model of my web cam, and then walked me through the process of establishing the digital image/video frame which is then used to establish identity.
As the following screen capture of the Settings panel indicates, further adjustments are easy to make.
On system startup the user is presented with the following screen (taken from the developer’s site). The green box encapsulates the subject’s face to determine if the face matches a previously saved template (from setup). If it does –voila! Automatic login. Very cool!
Additionally, the option to login manually using a password is always available.
Fast facts – from the developer’s site:
Reliable Login under Varying Conditions – With Blink!, you can login day or night. Sophisticated face recognition algorithms adjust for varying lighting conditions automatically, making login possible without additional training no matter whether window or artificial lighting is being used.
Changed Haircut? Swapped Glasses for Contacts? No Problem! – Advanced biometric identification algorithms used in Blink! help it cope with changes of your personal appearance. Grow or shave off beard and mustaches, use makeup or dye you hair, wear or remove glasses or contact lenses – Blink! will let you in to your PC no matter what.
Improved Security – No one remembers those long, complex passwords demanded by your corporate security policy? They don’t have to! With Blink!, users sign into their accounts by simply looking at a webcam. There are no false positives and no delays in letting authorized users into their accounts.
Catch Identity Thieves – Blink! provides additional security benefits by making it simpler to computer users to automatically unlock their PCs by simply looking into a webcam. Stolen passwords are becoming less of an issue as Blink! photographs and timestamps users every time they log in, no matter whether they use a password or biometric sign-in. Journaling account logins helps identify hijacked accounts and find out about who logged in using stolen credentials.
System requirements: 32-bit Windows Vista and Windows 7 only. According to the developer, a 64 bit application is in the works.
Download at: Luxand Blink!
There is a version of this software available for download at Download.com which CNET states, is compatible with Windows Me, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows XP. I have NOT tested this download.
A couple of caveats: I found that if I sat back too far from the camera on startup, it caused the program to take an unreasonable time to activate. Moving toward the camera slightly, caused the application to activate instantly.
Overall, I was pretty impressed by this slightly futuristic method of login. I’ll keep it on a least one of my machines for a while yet. It’s very cool!
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