pins and tumblers still?? Part 1 – Biometrics

Chris Brooker
May 28, 2009

Keys
If there is one thing that bothers me it’s keys. Everyday, everywhere I have to carry around this ring with hunks of metal attached just so I can lock my condo door, start my car, check my mail, etc. Why are metal keys and pin and tumbler locks still the standard?

Here are Pros for our traditional keys

  • relatively easy to use
  • durable
  • adds a level of security higher than no lock
  • cheap
  • ubituitous
  • longevity, seldom need servicing
  • anonymous (also a con)

Here are the Cons for keys

  • must carry at all times (losing then is a hassle and costly)
  • easily duplicated
  • can’t control access (if you have a key, you get in)
  • to change the key you have to change the lock internals
  • if a key breaks in the lock it’s rendered inoperable
  • anonymous (also a pro)

Don’t you think it’s time for a change? I certainly do, but the problem is not as cut and dry as that. There currently isn’t really a better solution yet, which is totally frustrating.

Let’s take a look at the alternatives:

Biometric Access Control Systems

1) Finger Print

 

la9-3-fingerprint-lock-by-adel-1

  • requires physical contact
  • often requires 10secs to authenticate
  • often fails to read
  • not difficult to defeat
  • requires power to opperate
  • requires that a sample pattern be taken and stored on the device or location
  • expensive ($500)

2) Vein Pattern Recognition (reads the unique patterns of veins in you hand)

  • requires physical contact (back of hand in most cases)
  • authentication takes time
  • device is large and not suitable for all entry types
  • requires power to opperate
  • requires that a sample pattern be taken and stored on the device or location
  • expensive ($2000 – $4000)

3) Retinal Scanning

  • perceived as invasive
  • requires power to opperate
  • requires that a sample pattern be taken and stored on the device or location
  • expensive

4) Other types of biometrics

  • other types of biometrics all have similar drawbacks.

These are the reasons that you don’t see a lot of biometric locks out there. They are simply not better then metal keys for most purposes.

In my next post I will talk about RF, RFID, keypads and IR electronic locks.

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