Microsoft launches keyboard with hidden fingerprint sensor
01 August 2017 07:08 GMT

In its new keyboard, Microsoft has packed a fingerprint reader into a seemingly conventional key.

Called the Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID, the recently-released input device features a "hidden" biometric scanner, according to the company.

Only a fingerprint icon gives the sensor's position away, next to the right Alt key.

The key/scanner works with Windows Hello, the biometrics security technology included in Windows 10. After setting up Windows Hello, users can configure the feature to enable sign-ins with a quick press of the key.

Combined, Windows Hello and supporting hardware can help users avoid falling to one of the most common causes of compromised accounts—password reuse.

"Studies show more than 80 percent of people use the same password across multiple web sites, managing around 20-30 different accounts. We want to make sure that everyone running Windows 10 can experience the beautiful relief that comes from letting go of your written Pa55w0Rd5," Jennifer Thompson, product marketing manager at Microsoft Accessories, wrote in a blog post. "So we worked to deliver a predictable, intent-driven and simple solution for someone to quickly and securely log into their PC, or authenticate an action."

Enhanced security aside, Windows Hello can be a time-saver, added Thompson. Using the new fingerprint sensor, successful logins take less than two seconds, or three times faster than it typically takes to type in a password, she claimed.

Those capabilities aside, the keyboard features an aluminum top case and keys with 2mm of travel. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.2 or a wired connection. The unit's built-in rechargeable battery lasts up to four months between charges.