Still, there is always room for improvement, and new technologies have opened up new ways to log in to your computer. Let’s take a look at two login methods that bypass normal password protection and instead use parts of your body for identification.
Facial Recognition: Luxand Blink
The easiest and most convenient alternative to using a password to log into your computer is facial recognition. This method of log in requires that you have a webcam mounted on top of your monitor and requires that you have facial recognition software installed on your computer.
It’s possible that your webcam might come with such software bundled, but the webcam I have did not come with this included. In order to enable facial recognition I downloaded the free version of Luxand Blink.
Luxand Blink is simple software (at least, the free version is). When you install it and boot the program, it will automatically begin the process of remembering your face. This only takes a few moments. Once your face has been stored (this is called a face template by the software) you will be able to log in simply by sitting down at your computer and pointing your face in the direction of your webcam. You will still have the option of logging in with your password, however.
I found that Blink was reliable even when I changed the lighting in my office. However, keep in mind that extreme differences in lighting and the quality of your webcam can cause issues. It’s best to record your face template during a lighting condition that most accurately represents the lighting of the room when you’d normally log in.
Another alternative to the traditional password login is a fingerprint reader. This feature, which is often included on high-end business laptops and workstations, is both convenient and secure.
Obviously, you’ll need to own or buy a fingerprint reader if you want to log in using this method. There are many fingerprint readers on the market including the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader and options from less well known companies like Eikon.
Unlike webcams, which don’t always come with facial recognition software packaged in, fingerprint readers ship with everything you should need to use them. Once you’ve unpackaged and installed the software you simply need to register your fingerprint with the detection software. Tada! You’ll now be able to log in to your computer simply by pressing your finger to the fingerprint reader.
Fingerprint readers are reliable because accuracy isn’t dependent on environmental factors such as lighting. These readers can also be used to as a log in method for a lot more than just your PC. Fingerprint identification can be used to log into websites, sign on to wireless networks, and more (provided that the drivers and software shipped with your fingerprint reader supports these features, of course).
These alternatives to logging in with a password do require more setup and, ultimately, more cash than logging in with a password. Even if you can obtain the software for free, you still need the hardware. Still, prices aren’t too prohibitive – around $20 to $50 for a decent webcam and $50 for a fingerprint reader. If you know of a neat alternative log in method that isn’t mentioned here let us know in the comments.