Your Computer Probably Can't Use One Of Windows 10's Features

Your Computer Probably Can't Use One Of Windows 10's Coolest Features

How did I just do that? I'm using Windows Hello, a new feature of Windows 10 that logs you in with your face instead of a password.

It gets better: Microsoft plans to let you log into all kinds of things the exact same way. Once your computer knows that it's actually you sitting in front of your laptop or desktop PC -- the idea goes -- supported websites, social networks, and perhaps even banks will let you log in with your face instead of a password, too. It's all part of an initative called the FIDO Alliance, of which Microsoft is just one member.

But don't go looking for the same option on your freshly upgraded personal computer. In order to ensure that it's actually you at the controls, Windows Hello requires a pretty fancy camera: one equipped with an infrared depth sensor so it can see your face in three dimensions. Just like a Microsoft Kinect.

That way, people can't fool the system by just holding up a picture of your face, or something.

Your Computer Probably Can't Use One Of Windows 10's Coolest Features

There aren't a lot of cameras like that on the market right now. Pretty much just devices with Intel RealSense cameras work with Windows 10 at the moment, and that's what you see me using in these animated GIFs. I've got an Intel RealSense developer kit that was an absolute pain to install and has some really shitty driver issues... but as you can see, it works brilliantly. Just a glance and I'm logged in. In fact, if I power up the computer while sitting in front of it, I'll seamlessly toss me into my desktop.

There are some other biometric scanners that work with Windows Hello, too, including a number of fingerprint sensors and even iris scanners. And failing those, you can just create a four-digit PIN. But the camera's definitely the coolest, most seamless way to go, and I've honestly got no clue if laptop manufacturers are going to buy in, because the camera's not really good for much else yet.

Here's a list of all the devices you can get with an Intel RealSense camera so far.



    I wonder when we'll start seeing retail versions of this. Disappointing the only option is a developer kit sold out in pre order.

    I don't have an issue with finger print scanner, so this is meh to me

      Windows Hello incorporates that as well under now APIs so its much easier and should be overall better.

      The problem with fingerprint scanners is they were never supported properly by windows, it was always a hack on by your OEM.

      The fingerprint reader under Windows 10 works better than ever on my Lenovo X1 Gen2. However I don't have a fingerprint reader on my Desktop PC. So a camera would be good.
      Also think of a tablet (Surface 4?) or your phone with this built in. You just look at the device and you are logged in.

    New? I had this on my laptop 5 years ago.

      Yeah, my wife's old dell studio 15 has it too. It's a hacked in app which absolutely sucks.

      There are numerous differences. The two that will be most noticeable is the speed at which it takes to log into the device.
      The more important difference will be the security. The current systems are rather notorious for being easily fooled by photos, whereas this new system (seems) to be designed to be far more secure and less likely to be bypassed by relatively simple measures.
      All in all it equates to a secure, quick login that is simple.

      It's probably also worth noting people have defeated the finger print scanners on laptops, iPhones and Android phones too with not too much difficulty (a lot of How To's online for those as well if you're interested). Hopefully this system proves to be more robust, and even find its way to Windows Phones and other phones in the future

    Can't wait for Realsense to start being integrated into new laptop cameras.

      I can.

    The best thing that could happen out of this FIDO alliance is that everyone adopts it. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Linux.

    The worse thing that could happen is too many competing standards. I don't want my users having to maintain multiple biometric caches. Passwords are hard enough for most users

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