Technology Notes

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

NEW TOUCH-SCREEN CASH MACHINES

A new generation of automated teller machines is showing up at a corner near you. The new machines have touch screens that use current from a finger to activate their buttons. They won't work with gloved hands, as do the machines that employ light beams that are blocked when the screen is touched. But the new machines are supposed to make fewer mistakes. They will include much more powerful computers that will eventually allow a wider variety of transactions to take place electronically, such as printing out a monthly bank statement. Special filters will block the view of the screens from behind, to protect users' PIN numbers. BayBank began installing the machines in Boston last week.

ANTITHEFT COMPUTER CHIPS

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A new antitheft technology is aimed at keeping computers on desks where they belong. Tags are embedded into circuit boards in the computer, and electronic sensors will detect if and when they're removed from a building. An alarm will sound if the board is taken out of a controlled area past a sensor. Knogo North America, a manufacturer of Electronic Article Surveillance security systems, announced the start of a beta test of its technology last week.

CYBERHOME SHOW

It's half home show, half computer expo. Instead of focusing on the latest interior fashions, the Cyberhome show displays the latest in computerized home convenience. For the ever-increasing number of telecommuters, the show demonstrates an all-in-one computer, printer, and fax machine, in addition to video-conferencing and a satellite dish. For family gatherings, there's a huge combination television/PC that can be used to surf the Web as well as watch the Simpsons. And a computer links household functions such as setting the thermostat, watering the lawn, and managing emergencies. The automated home is open in Chino Hills, Calif., outside Los Angeles, until October. For more information call (909) 597-7773.

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