Let Your Fingers Do the Talking
Biometrics — the science of using
biological properties to identify
individuals — will soon end up on your
desk, most likely right on your computer
keyboard. Retinal and fingerprint scanners
are the last line of defense for network (and Internet)
identity verification. Unlike passwords, you can never
forget your genetically-encoded characteristics.
Atmel has announced extensions to its FingerChip™line
of fingerprint sweep sensors, allowing greater integration
into portable electronic devices — like cell phones and
PDAs. A sweep sensor is a rectangular thermal imaging
array — 8 x 232 pixels in the case of the FingerChip — that
creates a large 2D image as you slide your finger across it.
Built-in hardware tracks the fingerprint motion and also
decodes other actions — like taps and navigation gestures —
turning it into a reverse desktop mouse of sorts.
Not only will future portable devices sport a "seamless"
control interface, but they'll likely make sure you're really the
one using it and buying those Barry Manilow LPs from eBay.
For more information on Atmel's developments in biometric
sensing, visit www.atmel.com/products/Biometrics/
350 Farads — Inconceivable!
Actually, it’s just staggering, but that's the capacity of
Maxwell Technology's new BCAP0350 Boostcap™
product. In a clever twist, the engineers at Maxwell have
designed the 0350 to the same physical specifications as a
common D cell battery, opening the door to many new
applications, while simultaneously cutting the
manufacturing cost (the price to hobbyists is expected to be
around $20.00 each). The BCAP0350 will tolerate over a half
million cycles and — with an ESR of only 3.2 milliohms — it
is rated at 20 amps for charge/discharge current.
The BCAP0350 works in tandem with batteries
for applications that require both a constant low power
discharge for continual function and a pulse power for
peak loads. In these applications, the device relieves
batteries of peak power functions, resulting in an
extension of battery life and a
reduction of overall battery
size and cost. For more
information on Maxwell's
ultracapacitor technology, visit