Digital Persona Inc. has created a mouse-sized fingerprint identification scanner for personal computers.

The device, called U.are.U, works within Windows operating systems. When used with special biometric identification software, the device can positively identify computer users, eliminating the need for personal identification numbers and passwords.

Digital Persona plans to market the product for use in corporate and electronic commerce applications. The device should be available in the next few weeks for $99.

In corporate applications, companies could require employees to use the scanner before getting access to computers.

On-line merchants and credit card companies could use the device to confirm the identity of a customer before authorizing an on-line purchase.

To use U.are.U, people must register by placing a finger on the device, which takes four scans of their fingerprint to create a template. Thereafter, users' scans are compared to the template.

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