Friday, February 09, 2007

The Key To The World

Hey, this is pretty cool (from Gizmag):

America’s top-selling lock-set manufacturer Kwikset, has unveiled a stylish biometric keyless entry system for the home. SmartScan eliminates the need for a key or key code, with the deadbolt activated simply by swiping a valid fingerprint across its sensor. Programmable with up to 50+ user fingerprints, SmartScan also has a special timed "lock out feature" that allows homeowners three levels of access options. This feature allows continual access (24/7) for family members, temporary access for house sitters or contractors, and time restricted access for babysitters or housekeepers.

I'm sure there are Smart People out there who could tell us all the inherent risks and dangers that come from having the deadbolts to your house activated by fingerprint scan, but until someone tells those reasons to me, I'm just gonna think it's neat. (Let's not go into the "what if someone cuts off your hand to break into your house?" routine. There is nothing valuable enough in my house to warrant such extreme burglary measures. I think my hand is safe on that front.) I'd love to be able to go for a walk around the neighborhood without having to worry about remembering my keys, and for my family and trusted friends to be able to access each other's houses without carrying a key-chain that can double as a an anvil. Ooh, wouldn't it be cool, too, if the reader could double as a sort of caller ID, so you'd know exactly how many times your plant-sitter really did come to water the ficus while you were at the beach?

When we were in Disney World, our hotel gave us a "key to the world," which was a combination room key, credit card, dining plan voucher, and park pass. The first time we left Epcot, wanting to come back in later, we expected to do the usual hand-stamp routine, where they stamp you with the ink-of-the-day and then run a special light over your hand when you come back to make sure you haven't "loaned" your pass to someone else, and that it really is you, but we were in for a little high-tech surprise. When we entered the park we ran our "key to the world" through a card reader, and placed our index finger on a scanner. A little blue light read the fingerprint, and from then on the system always knew we were us when we used our key. It was actually pretty slick, and saved the necessity of a whole host of hand-stamping and stamp-reading employees on Disney's end. It was no inconvenience to us, and clearly was a step up on the efficiency scale for the Happiest Place On Earth. It also provides the added bonus of finger-print identification should there happen to be some major crime--not that that would ever happen in the wonderful world of Disney.

Of course, now that Disney has our fingerprints on file, the real thing that we have to be worried about is that some genius employee will make a copy of our prints, replicate them using gummy bears (I've actually read of it being done successfully), fly clear across the country to Portland in the hopes that we have a print-activated door lock, and steal our television. Hardly likely. Now, if we had lots of money, or a priceless collection of some sort to motivate such an elaborate crime, I might be a tad more concerned. However if we were that well-funded we could afford a surveillance system, or a security guard, so even then I'm just not feeling the fear. Then again, maybe Disney's collection of fingerprints is part of some elaborate plot to rule the world, which simpler minds such as mine can't comprehend in our innocence. Well, if that's true, I hope they run it like Disney World. I like it there; it's fun and clean--and they already gave me the key.