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Optical Security:

Photonics Spectra
Nov 1997
The Digital Body

R. Winn Hardin, Senior News Editor

The computer, the boon of the modern age, has leveled the once stratified business world with the delicacy of a velvet-gloved fist. In this new world where information is king and transactional ease a must, risk management has become a balancing act between convenience and security.
Once upon a time, security issues were simple. An infrared motion detector or surveillance camera announced an intruder's presence. Electronic locks provided added security, but magnetic key counterparts are easily lost, stolen or duplicated.
In response, imaging systems and improved microprocessors have combined to created a series of security systems from the fly-on-the-wall variety, to highly sensitive and personalized security devices that use biometric keys.
Despite some successes, however, issues of cost, speed, robustness and public acceptance still plague biometric security. In answer, a handful of emerging photonic technologies could supply that final impetus, breaking through public acceptance and cost barriers with the goal of making our everyday lives easier and safer.

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