Biometric Locks: Even the Jetsons Would be In Awe

Biometric locks employ high-tech fingerprint recognition technology to verify your identity before allowing a locked door to be opened.

Mr. Spacely might be happier with George Jetson if George gave him a biometric lock--which reads fingerprints for access--as a present. Image: Hanna-Barbera/Everett Collection

George Jetson would definitely be eyeing a biometric lock as a present for his boss, Mr. Spacely. In addition to keeping Spacely Sprockets safe from the prying eyes of rival Spencer Cogswell, a biometric lock will provides home security and ease of entry—no more fumbling with keys.

A biometric lock uses an optical or thermal scanner to read and memorize your fingerprint (and the fingerprints of other authorized users who you decide should have access to your home).

Opening a biometric door lock is typically a two-step process. First, press your fingertip—or hand—to the scanner, and the device identifies your unique characteristics. Next, you type an authentication code into a keypad to open the lock.

Biometric locks characteristics

  • Goodbye, keys. You’ll never leave your fingerprints in your other pants, so biometric locks offer convenience and fast entry for an authorized user.
  • Biometric power. Many biometric security systems provide alternate key access in case the battery-operated system fails.
  • The ouch factor. Some biometric scanners will no longer recognize your fingerprint if you get a cut or develop a scar.
  • Price particulars. Biometric door locks range from $69 to $350 or more, and are readily available at hardware stores and home improvement centers.

Three innovative biometric lock ideas

  • Safe keeping. The portable BioBox Fingerprint Safe is sized (about 7x11x2 inches) for stowing small items such as jewelry, cash, medications, or a firearm. Press your fingertip to the scanner on top for quick one-second access. Stores up to 30 fingerprints for multiple users, and operates on four AA batteries. Sells for about $200.
  • Computer critter. SecuGen Hamster IV Optical Fingerprint Reader connects to any Windows PC as a security feature for your computer. The device is designed to work with special software to capture high-quality fingerprints from a wide range of traditionally difficult fingers, including those from dry, wet, scarred, or aged skin, and in bright ambient conditions such as under direct sunlight. Priced at about $100.
  • Alarming option. If someone tries to break the BioAxxis Biometric Deadbolt lock, an alarm sounds. Named the best fingerprint door lock by Good Housekeeping Research, the lock sells for about $69.