How Can Our Bodies Be Used as Passwords?

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( — June 16, 2015) — Tired of typing and retyping passwords, memorizing them, hiding them, protecting them? If only an app could verify your identity simply by detecting your presence. According to an article written by Jessica Hullinger for mental floss, it can.

There are number of ongoing projects that aim to replace a classic PIN, the article discloses some of the most interesting ones.

1. Brainwave recognition

According to Researchers from Binghamton University “brainprint” is the brainwave reaction on stimuli that can be read and used as personal identification.

The reason “brainprint” passwords are not useful at the moment is because there is no technology developed that can read your brainwaves without strapping electrodes to your head

2. Heartbeat recognition

Brains have its unique waves just as each heart has a unique beat, according to scientists. A startup called Bionym has created ‘Nymi’, a bracelet that turns this signature into a key. Your Nymi detects your hearth beat and decodes it into a digital signature. However, it is not clear what would happen if your heart beat accelerates during some physical exercise, or simply if you are excited about something and your body is full of adrenaline.

3. Face recognition

Unlike brainwaves and heart beat recognition, this technology is actually already in use.  True key, a password manager app released by the Intel Corporation, takes a photo of your face and remembers your face proportions, like for example the distance between your eyes and your nose. Microsoft already incorporated this technology, however, it is not yet available in Apple products.

4. Google search

Apparently we all have a unique digital activity signature. Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, and the University of Texas at Austin, joined forces and developed an app called ActivPass, which analyzes your browser activity and creates your digital signature. Active pass monitors your browsing activity and generates a question sequence that you need to answer. According to the research, the app is 95 percent accurate.

 5. Sound verification between your computer and your phone

Early last year, Google acquired a startup called SlickLogin that uses sounds as passwords. Reportedly, a website plays a nearly inaudible sound that same app installed on smartphone could pick up and confirm. However, the app can only confirm the presence of a matching phone, but can’t verify the user itself.

6. Stomach acid recognition

Motorola has created a stomach acid analyzing pill that can communicate a with computer from inside the belly. A pill as a sensor to open a door is not a new idea, however a smart pill can actually confirm that the right person swallows it.

7. Electronic tattoos

Reportedly, the Google-owned Motorola is already working on this with a company called MC10. The idea is to apply a temporary tattoo that has ultra-thin flexible microelectronic beneath, which stretches along with the skin.

An interesting explanation by one of its developers is that they believe teens would rather wear tattoos than bracelets and watches. “10- to 20-year-olds might not want to wear a watch on their wrists, but you can bet they will wear a tattoo – if only to piss off their parents,” read the Mental Floss article citing the developer.