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Surprising Science

ECG-Based Device Could Mean The End Of Passwords And Keys

After over a decade of research, biotech startup Bionym is ready to go public with Nymi, a bracelet that uses the unique electrical activity produced by the wearer’s heart as identification.

What’s the Latest Development?

Sometime next year, there will be a new form of wearable technology on the streets: Bionym’s Nymi wristband uses the wearer’s unique electrocardiogram (ECG) to provide identification that can potentially unlock objects ranging from smartphones to house and car doors…and that’s just for starters. Once it’s activated, the wristband is “always making sure you are who you say you are, and is telling everything around you whether you’re right or not.” Nymi is currently available for pre-order, and will retail for $99.

What’s the Big Idea?

Most people are well aware of the many flaws associated with passwords, and Karl Martin, founder of Bionym, says they’re “the worst thing ever.” He also points out that other biometric identifiers — fingerprints, retinal patterns, and the like — can be stolen, which is one reason why the Nymi contains something called “liveness detection,” which basically prevents evildoers from using it with someone else’s ripped-out heart. The success of the Nymi and similar devices will determine how far the technology inserts itself into everyday activities, but Martin is optimistic: “Do you think 100 years from now we’re going to…have to remember all our passwords, carry our stupid keys around? I hope not.”

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Read it at The Verge


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