We have to deal with passwords everyday, to unlock devices, websites, emails and services. Bionym unveiled a wristband which can identify the user from the heartbeat alone. Dr Karl Martin, the chief executive of Bionym developed a wristband called the Nymi that measures the electrical activity generated by the heart through electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors. ECG is completely unique to every person, depending on the size, position, and physiology of their heart.
“Having a single biometric trait unlocking multiple devices based on recognising an individual is a fascinating application and can be used in so many different scenarios, as long as the biometric trait being used to unlock is reliable,” says Arun Ross at Michigan State University.
The Nymi itself is a wristband, when the user taps it with the opposite hand, the device detects and identifies the user. Then it is constantly authenticating until the user physically moves out of range. Dr Martin said that the Nymi is part of a three factors of security; the unique band itself, your ECG, and a dedicated app, which will be available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OSX. It will also sense how far away the user is from the device so that someone else can’t open your phone from across the room. But the user can unlock the phone without a password because it would know that the user is holding it.
The uniqueness of the biometric trait is so reliable that Dr Martin hopes the Nymi would be used for passwords, payments, even car and house doors.
Dr Martin said “We’re able to achieve higher accuracy than face recognition, and accuracy that is competitive with fingerprint recognition.” The Nymi will cost $79 as an exclusive launch price. Pre-orders begin on 4 September, with shipments planned for early 2014.