Biometric password systems are generally thought to be tighter and harder to break than traditional security codes, but they can still be easily replicated. A Canadian-based biometrics company called Bionym came up with a solution: using a specific biometric that is hard to obtain and mimic, which makes it an ideal choice for password, at least in theory.
And this is how the Nymi wristband, which can practically turn the wearer’s heartbeat into a universal password, came into being. The bracelet not only can provide a secure method of identification, but also has the potential to allow users to control devices through gestures.
The problem with most of the biometric systems in place today, from fingerprint access to retinal scans, is that they are breakable, albeit it is a bit more difficult than with traditional password systems. Our fingerprints, our faces and implicitly our irises are physical features that we leave everywhere and can be easily stolen.
But according to Bionym, the same cannot be said of our heartbeats. Just like fingerprints, a person’s electrocardiogram is unique. And by encoding the EKG into the Nymi bracelet, manufacturers were able to successfully use the biometric as a password.
The Nymi wristband is linked to the wearer and could never be used by another person. According to the company, the system cannot be duplicated or altered. All you have to do to make sure it works properly is to update the EKG regularly and to try to use it when you’re calm and relaxed.
The Nymi works together with a smartphone or another device that runs the accompanying app. Before being used, it has to be set up with samples of the wearer’s heartbeat. And from there on, the EKG data is constantly used to automatically authenticate and confirm your identity to all the devices you want to access. It’s important to note that it works only it is worn and that it will stop its authentication cycle the minute it is taken off.
The bracelet also includes a gyroscope and an accelerometer for gesture control, as Bionym is hoping to eventually use the device to unlock virtually anything, form your home door to your car and your car radio.
The Nymi wristband is expected to be released early next year and will retail for $99. What do you think of the project? Would you use it as a universal password to never have to manually enter a pass code ever again?
[Image via Gizmag]