In brief: TechDirt says it's becoming less unusual for devices like laptops, and even mobile phones, to feature fingerprint scanners for secure access.
The idea is that only the owner's fingerprint can unlock the device, so if it's stolen, it will be useless to a thief. This tends to help with most of your garden-variety theft, but as anybody who's watched a few action movies knows, fingerprint-based systems don't pose a problem for the really motivated thief, who can simply cut off their victim's finger and use it to access the device or secret lair or whatever.
Sony has a system that doesn't use fingerprints, but rather an image of the capillaries (via Network Computing) beneath the skin of a person's finger. The pattern in the image can only be captured when blood is pumping through the finger in question, so severing it from the rest of the victim would render it useless.