The Latest Wave of Technology Exhibit Features Wireless Internet, Other Innovations

Article excerpt

Someday soon you could check your e-mail from the bathtub and protect your computer files with your fingerprint instead of a password.

Innovations that make these possible are being showcased through Thursday at an exhibition at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The COMDEX/Spring 2000 event is expected to draw 80,000 computer-industry professionals, making it one of the largest information technology gatherings in the nation, according to Bob Bierman, COMDEX/2000 vice president and general manager.

Many of the advances first make their mark in the world of e- commerce, then begin filtering into the realm of home computing, organizers say.

At the convention center's biometrics pavilion, the SAFLink Corp. booth features software that scans the voice, iris, face or fingerprint to secure computer information.

Product manager Maril Zbik calls biometrics an "emerging" technology, because the public is slowly coming around to accepting it.

For instance, computer users are reluctant to have their fingerprints scanned for security purposes, even though the scanner only records the prints and doesn't store them in the system, Zbik said.

Still, she said, biometrics will prevail, as people acknowledge that passwords are not secure.

"Half the passwords you can either guess or gain access to because people have them taped to the sides of their computers," Zbik said. "Once you figure out the passwords, you can access someone's whole life."

Another roadblock to the use of biometrics is cost, Zbik admitted. …