Synaptics’ Biometric Module Gets Buzz at GDC

Fingerprint BiometricsBiometric user interface specialist Synaptics has been displaying its Natural ID technology at the Game Developers Conference, and is already getting some positive attention. In an article for Forbes, Marco Chiappetta praises the technology and expresses optimism about its potential applications in gaming.

The company’s idea is to have its Natural ID fingerprint sensor integrated directly into PC and laptop mice. Designed to adhere to FIDO security specifications, the module could be used for a variety of user authentication purposes – not only automatic log-in, but applications requiring greater security such as in-game purchases. Chiappetta notes that it would also help with major gaming tournaments, which often require players to face off in person since it can be hard to verify player identities digitally. In speaking with Chiappetta, Synaptics representatives indicated that “a number of gaming mouse manufacturers are interested in the technology,” so there’s a good chance gamers will soon be able to get their hands on it.

Synaptics is also showing off another nifty system called the SmartBar – a keyboard space bar that has extra sensors allowing users to interact with it in a number of novel ways, such as by sliding a thumb across it, to trigger specific actions. According to Chiappetta, it’s allows for a “rather intuitive” setup, since gamers usually have their thumbs resting on the space bar while playing.

“Synaptics hasn’t announced any design wins just yet,” Chiappetta concludes, “but I can see Natural ID and the SmartBar catching on big time.”