Gone are those days when you had to put a hideous password to protect your computer, without being sure that it won’t be hacked later. With the evolution of biometric security, now you can unlock your computer or mobile phone with your fingerprint or retina scan. However, those biometric security measures also come with some inconveniences. Both of them require you to take an active step. Besides, it’s really easy to 3D print your finger. Wouldn’t it be nice and safe if you could just unlock your computer just by being near it? Well, it might happen so soon thanks to the new non-contact biometric computer authentication system that uses the unique part of your body to unlock the computer, your heart.
Shape of your heart
Developed by the researchers from the University at Buffalo, this system uses the shape and size of your heart to sign in. It measures your heart using low-level Doppler radar, and continuously scans your heart’s dimension, granting access as long as you’re in the right place. It means no one else can step in and use your computer while you’re on a coffee break.
“We would like to use it for every computer because everyone needs privacy,” said Wenyao Xu, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the study’s lead author. “Logging-in and logging-out are tedious,” he added.
Why the heart?
The geometry of your heart, its size, and shape, as well as how it moves, together create your identification, which is unique. “No two people with identical hearts have ever been found,” Xu said, adding that unless you have a serious heart disease, your heart won’t change its shape.
Faster and safer
It takes only 8 seconds for the system to scan your heart the first time, and then it can continuously recognize you. Besides, according to Xu, the signal strength used by the system is quite low, about 5 milliwatts, means it’s safe for you.
Only you can unlock the computer
The system recognizes you. It’s a passive, non-contact device, means you don’t have to authenticate yourself every time you log in. Also, the system monitors you continuously, which means the computer won’t operate without having you in front of it. So, from next time, if you forget to log off your computer, don’t worry.
Xu and his team will present the paper “Cardiac Scan: A Non-contact and Continuous Heart-based User Authentication System” — at next month’s 23rd Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Communication (MobiCom) in Utah. They are also planning to shrink the technology to the point where it could be installed on the corners of computer keyboards, even on cell phones. It sounds promising but there’s a security concern. This miniaturize will make the device monitor you up to 30 meters away. If someone else steals your phone, all they have to do is just sit in front of you to unlock the device. However, this system is still promising if you find the previous login system tedious and painful.