Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gadgets soon to identify their users by measuring heartbeats


Smartphones, tablets, gaming devices and other devices may soon recognize their owners at a touch. The gadgets will identify their users by measuring their heartbeats through their finger tips.

"ECG biometrics identifies people by their cardiac rhythm," Foteini Agrafioti, an engineer at the University of Toronto who developed a version of the technology and started a company, Bionym, to make it.

"Not just their heart rate but the actual shape of their heartbeat," he added.

Heartbeat could be a secure alternative, or supplement, to more established biological ID measures, such as fingerprints. And unlike some futuristic identification schemes, heartbeat IDs are technologically ready to go.

The finger sensors have made it possible to embed heartbeat measurements into smartphones and other devices, although they aren't precise enough for doctor's diagnosis.

Meanwhile, engineers have found that the exact shape of ECG spikes varies from person to person. Everyone has his or her own unique shape, which remain even during heart rate changes caused by excitement or exercise. That shape also stays the same over time.


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