Forget face scans or fingerprints, your heart could be your new passcode
The recent launch of the iPhone X andits new facial recognition unlocking technology has thrust biometricsecurity back into the popular discourse. A team at the University ofBuffalo has now developed a new biometric tool that analyzes the dimensions of your heart to unlock your phoneor log you in to your computer.
The old-fashioned password is quicklylooking like an ancient relic of the 20th century.Biometric security seems to be the way of the future, withfingerprints, retina scans and facial recognition only the beginning. Practically every conceivable unique biological signature is currently beinginvestigated as a potential form of security.
From a body odor-based ID system, tovein scanning and "brain-prints", your body is full of uniquebiometric markers that can be harnessed as a personalized passcode. In 2014 a company called Nymi developed a novel, heart-based, biometric system that identifies a person's electrocardiogram signal using abracelet that can track cardiac rhythms.
Now researchers at the University ofBuffalo have taken heart biometrics one step further and developed asystem that uses a low-level Doppler radar to identify the unique shape andsize of a person's heart.
"No two people with identical heartshave ever been found," says Wenyao Xu, lead author of the newstudy, who added that people's hearts do not change shape unless they suffer from serious heart disease
The system takes eight seconds torecord the unique geometry and rhythm of a person's heart and then itcan continuously monitor the person's presence, allowing forcontinuous authentication without any kind of recurring body contact.
The ability of the system to unobtrusively re-authenticate the usermakes the system a little more secure than a regular static, single log-inauthentication process. One-time validation systems can easilybe compromised, but a system that is continuously authenticating itsuser is much harder to crack.
The team claims the radar system usesvery little power and poses no health risks as it has a signalstrength much lower than regular Wi-Fi.
"We are living in a Wi-Fi surroundingenvironment every day and the new system is as safe as those Wi-Fidevices," says Xu. "The read is about 5 milliwatts, even lessthan 1 percent of the radiation from our smartphones."
The team states that furtherdevelopment of the technology will involve a miniaturization of thesystem to enable it to be installed into computer keyboards orsmartphones. The current system also allows for monitoring of anindividual up to a distance of 30 meters (98 ft), which the researcherssuggest could have uses in airport identification scenarios.
Source: University of Buffalo