Biometric identification methods use physiological or behavioural characteristics to ascertain a person’s identity.
Biometrics is often hailed as ‘the next big thing’ in authentication, its popularity helped along by movies like James Bond.
As biometric authentication becomes increasingly commonplace, passwords and PINs look set to die a slow death.
But while you’re probably familiar with biometric identification methods like fingerprint scanners and voice recognition technology, some of the following technologies may surprise you…
Researchers from the University of Bath found that noses could provide effective biometric identification methods.
Noses are distinct, and their prominence – slap bang in the middle of your face – makes them hard to conceal.
The researchers found six main nose types, and characterised individual noses by tip, ridge profile and nasion, or the area between the eyes.
Ear we go
We all know that no two people’s fingerprints are alike, but it turns out that no two ears – even on the same person – are alike either.
A number of ear-related biometric identification methods are in development. Japanese company NEC has developed a technology which measures the way sound resonation is changed by the unique pattern of a person’s ears.
And startup Descartes Biometrics has created an app that recognises the way a person’s ear touches their smartphone.
Smell you later
Smelly people of the world rejoice – your body odour could soon finally be put to good use.
That’s right – researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid are making progress on a new biometric technique that would allow us to identify people by their own unique fragrance.
The researchers created an ‘electronic nose’ which can ‘sniff’ people to ascertain their identity.
In the early stages of development the technology had a failure rate of 10%, but could filter out variables like perfume and hand cream, and changes in scent caused by illness and diet.
A matter of the heart
We’ve all heard that trite piece of advice, ‘follow your heart’. Well, maybe there’s more to it than we thought.
Canadian startup Bionym has developed the Nymi wristband, which takes an electrocardiogram (ECG) to chart your ‘unique cardiac rhythm’ and verify your identity.
The wristband can tell exactly who’s wearing it, and then communicate that identity with any device with Bluetooth and NFC capabilities.
Bionym’s president, Andrew D’Souza, said that with the Nymi wristband, “you can leave your phone and wallet at home, go for a run, pick up a coffee and snack and return home.’
In the same vein
Fingerprints may be a big player on the biometrics scene, but relying on them too heavily may be unwise. Turns out fingerprint-based biometric identification methods are not that difficult to fool.
A bar in north London has gone one better. It allows customers to pay using a bar-top finger scanner which reads the pattern of veins on the user’s index finger.
According to biometric payment company Sthaler, the structure of finger veins is almost completely unique. The chance that two people have the same vein layout is 3.4 billion to one.
Biometric identification methods: a conclusion
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these five unusual biometric identification methods.
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