Microsoft introduced Windows Hello with Windows 10 at launch. It gave Windows users a new and more secure way of authenticating their identity – while removing the need to remember passwords.
Hello combines three different types of biometric authentication technologies – facial recognition, Iris scan, and fingerprint scans.
Obviously, this requires specialized hardware – even the camera for facial recognition needs to have an illuminated IR sensor. While the dedicated hardware can be embedded in laptops and tablets, it can get quite difficult to do the same for desktops.
This is why when Microsoft decides to start selling 3rd party peripherals that add support for Windows Hello to desktops, it gets exciting.
BIO-Key is a company most of us have probably never heard of. That doesn’t matter for Microsoft though, as they are now selling three USB fingerprint readers made by BIO-Key for Windows Hello.
It took 18 months for Microsoft to start selling these things – and yet the selection is limited to fingerprint sensors. While Iris scanners and specialized webcams for Windows Hello would be helpful, it seems there’s still plenty of waiting to do for them.
The three fingerprint sensors are from BIO-Key, and they all do the same thing – but they are meant to fit in different use-cases.
SwipeSide Mini Fingerprint Reader – This little one costs 40$ and just plugs into a USB port – it’s just a tiny thing, but it requires you to swipe your finger across the sensor.
SideTouch Fingerprint Reader – Pretty much the same as the first one, except this one needs you to simply put your finger on the sensor. Also, costs 40$.
EcoID Fingerprint Reader – This one is meant for desktops – it is a tiny white box with a sensor on it. It comes with a USB cable that connects to your PC, and it costs 40$ as well.
It is not clear why more products are not coming with support for Windows Hello. For now, these three products are available from physical Microsoft Stores as well as on the web.