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A SmartPen for E-commerce

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, May 11, 1999

A pen that is mighty enough for the Internet. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. Internet commerce has been taking off, but a lot of us still feel uneasy about it. Just think how simple it would be for someone to use your credit card number to place an online order. Some new technology is on the way that will allow you to sign your name, just like you do in a store or restaurant. Except it is even better. At the CardTech SecurTech trade show in Chicago, LCI Computer Group from the Netherlands is showing what it calls the SMARTpen. LCI's Kees Ten Nijenhuis...

"The pen itself is a biometric authentication system, which means that inside the pen, we have a series of sensors that are able to register the way that people write."

It detects the angle of your writing, the pressure and such. Things that are nearly impossible to duplicate. The pen stores the information and sends it wirelessly to your computer. It can then be used to verify you are you before an online transaction is approved. A quick check can be run with your bank or credit card company...

"And on that network you have a reference signature, which basically is being matched with the signature that is being produced by the pen."

The pen is already being tested in Europe and should be here later this year. Mass production could bring the cost down to about forty dollars. You can find more information at smartpen.net.