Demian Bulwa
San Francisco Chronicle
August 24, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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When the 24 Hour Fitness chain recently installed finger scanners as a way of verifying members’ identity, it was a public premiere of sorts for a powerful and fast-expanding technology – and a test of whether consumers will embrace it.

The scanners, which came to the chain’s 60 Bay Area gyms this month, are a form of biometrics, in which people are recognized through a unique physical quality. Although 24 Hour Fitness checks fingers, biometric devices can verify people’s identity based on the contours of hands, eyes and faces, a voice, even a scent or a style of walking.

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The technology has become far more accurate and affordable in recent years, allowing it to move beyond longtime police and military uses and to be hailed, by some, as a potential solution to the menace of identity theft.

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