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Wearable fingerprint sensor uses whole hand to control multiple smart devices

Tapdo, the finger-powered smart sensor, starts at $100 on Kickstarter

Why it matters to you

Tapdo makes performing a function as easy as tapping your finger.

Unless you are a few years behind in upgrading your smartphone, chances are that you’ve used a fingerprint sensor. If you have, then you will no doubt have had the revelation about how much quicker it is than tapping in a PIN code or password to unlock your device or purchase an item.

While it’s possible to get your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy to recognize different fingers to carry out the same task, a neat new piece of hardware wants to take things up a level. Called Tapdo, it’s a wearable fingerprint reader that lets you map a variety of shortcuts for your different smart devices to various parts of your hand.

It’s available on Kickstarter starting at $100. Backers will receive their devices, including a battery and rubber wristband, in September.

“One of our founders developed the innovative interaction concept through his Ph.D. studies in human-computer interaction,” Irina Reimer, Tapdo campaign manager, told Digital Trends. “People are using so many apps on their smartphone every day, but there is no way to control them simultaneously. This is the problem that Tapdo solves. Using different parts of your hand makes interaction fast, intuitive, and discreet.”

For example, imagine controlling your smart home by manipulating, say, your Philips Hue Lights with one finger, your music player with another, and your smart lock with another. In all, there are about 20 functions available, along with If This Then That integration.

Sure, it will take a bit of memorization if you’re mapping the maximum number of shortcuts to your hand, but it’s certainly a smart concept — provided the touch sensor works as well as more established offerings.

The Tapdo button connects to both Android and iOS mobile devices, via Bluetooth LE. Like the fingerprint sensors you’re used to, it boasts haptic feedback to let you know of successful or unsuccessful attempts at reading biometrics — but unlike the fingerprint sensors you’ll have used previously, it is worn in the form of a wristband or as a clipped-on button.

“[The Kickstarter] campaign has the aim to start with the first mass-production batch,” Reimer said. “The plan is to start with the production in the spring months after the Kickstarter campaign, so that initial shipping for pre-orders can start in summer. At the beginning, the product will be available in Europe and the U.S.”

The $100 price tag includes a wristband and clip for the button. Now you just need to remember which finger part you set up for PayPal authentication.

Article originally published in December 2016. Updated on 03-27-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added Kickstarter pricing and availability information.