First fingers, then eyes, now a cardiac scanner could be the next biometric device.
Like the iPhone X’s facial recognition security that allows you to unlock your phone by staring at it, new research into biometrics could soon make traditional text passwords obsolete. One example is a prototype “cardiac scanner,” which uses doppler radar to recognise your unique heartbeat, heart shape, and heart motion.
The researchers from the University of Buffalo behind the prototype cardiac scanner will present their paper about the prototype at the 23rd annual MobiCom conference on mobile computing and networking.
So how does a cardiac scanner work? The device uses doppler radar to take your cardiac measurements. The initial scan takes only eight seconds. Then, like most biometric devices, the device compares future scans to the data stored about you in the device. If your heart metrics match those recorded, the device opens. The goal, according to Wenyao Xu, the study’s author, is “continuous authentication,” meaning that you log into the device once and never again.
“We really want to know who people are [up to] 500 meters away,” Xu told Gizmodo. “The current convention is to use face detection or recognition, but this [cardiac scanning technology] is the first time to bring truly hard biometrics from the remote sensing perspective.”
This also means being continuously logged-in, so no passwords—ever. Although the technology definitely sounds like it could solve some of the problems with facial recognition, surrendering this information to a corporation isn’t very comforting. Like many authentication tools—ones build for convenience over security—this technology can be used for less-than-altruistic reasons.
But based on peoples’ willingness to trust our devices, it’s not hard to imagine people putting convenience over privacy.