Unlock your phone with your ear print

Nitish ChandanCyber Security

Image Source: http://www.christianholz.net/2015-chi15-presentation/Bodyprint-presentation.003.jpg

Image Source: http://www.christianholz.net/2015-chi15-presentation/Bodyprint-presentation.003.jpg

Passwords are dying! Companies and individuals are now looking for alternatives. Security is one of the biggest concerns of modern-day Digital India and the world. While the Apple TouchID came about in the midst of such concerns, it needed certain special hardware support. How about something that utilizes what is available in your smartphone and still gives you high-end biometric support? What if it uses your smartphone’s touch screen?

Biometrics and the touchscreen

Touchscreens were not used for biometrics because the capacitive ones are very low resolution. Hence, capturing the fine whirls of a fingerprint was very tough. Nonetheless, larger prints from the body can be easily taken and this was what required more experimentation.

This is what Bodyprint is, an authentication system created by Yahoo Labs that turns a smartphone’s capacitive touchscreen into a biometric scanner. But because the scanning device is much larger than a fingerprint scanner, the system allows smartphone owners to unlock their handsets using body parts other than their fingerprint such as their ear when answering a call. By taking and analysing images of touch patterns on the screen using two-dimensional location mapping, a method by which mobile devices track and process gestures, fingerprints are obtained.

“While the input resolution of a touchscreen is about 6 DPI, the surface area is larger, allowing the touch sensor to scan users’ body parts, such as ears, fingers, fists, and palms by pressing them against the display,” the Yahoo Labs team wrote on the project’s web page.

The project claims to have a 99.8% precision. This project is so unique and is not just for high-end Android and iOS devices. Even entry-level smartphones can also use this security feature as an app! However, there is still a lot of ambiguity about its launch. Hopefully, this will be in the form of an app that will be compatible with all touchscreen phones.

This authentication also applies to the other factors mentioned below, not just the ear. If it comes into the market, it could be one of the breakthroughs in the dimension of authentication accessible to today’s entry-level smartphone users.