We have to admit it: passwords have become virtually obsolete. They represent a safety barrier that is nowhere in front to biometric systems that already populate our electrical devices, such as the fingerprint reader. But these systems are not limited to facial or finger recognition.
As the name implies, these biometric security systems are based on the unique qualities of people; his footprints, his face, etc. But these systems, with the right technology, can get out of these spectra and recognize our voice, our facial features or even the way we walk. We all have a unique footprint; vibrations in the skin of the face, our smell, and so on.
Now researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo have managed to give a new approach to this biometric recognition technology that could take away the already classic fingerprint reader. They have developed "EarEcho", a biometric security system that is able to recognize you according to your ear canal.
Helmets that recognize your ear, the alternative to the fingerprint reader
This new security method uses sound waves to identify users based on the shape of their ear canal. This is explained by Ang Gao, a graduate student who worked on the project at Digital Trends:
"Mobile biometrics is growing rapidly. However, with many existing mobile biometric solutions such as facial recognition, fingerprints or voice recognition, their patterns can be stolen or duplicated. Meanwhile, we note that there are more and more people who they use wireless headphones on the street. People are accepting these wireless headphones as a new and popular portable mode. We think what we could do is use headphones to provide a more secure and hidden authentication solution. "
The security team implemented this system in a pair of normal headphones. They added a microphone to the headset that is oriented towards the user's ear canal. Gao explains that when "The earpiece speaker reproduces a sound in the user's ear, the sound propagates through the ear canal and is reflected back into the microphone built into the headset. When analyzing the acoustic information of the reproduced sound and the captured echo, which it is closely related to the geometry of the ear canal, we extract the unique characteristics of the user and then verify their identity. "
This security method has proven tremendously effective; he "EarEcho" was able to recognize the user with precision greater than 95%. The researchers tested the system on 20 users, who listened to audio samples whether it was music or words. It was tested in different scenarios, such as on the street or in a busy place. In addition, its effectiveness was checked depending on the user's position, sitting or standing.
"EarEcho" was able to achieve such precision in the first second of recognition. When the system had the opportunity to scan the subject for a couple more seconds, the device increased its accuracy up to 97.5%.
There are numerous scenarios in which this technology could be applicable. As Gao says, users are increasingly linked to wireless headphones (a server itself has almost completely undone cable headphones) and the most obvious application It would be the unlock of the smartphone.
It would have several advantages; There would be a constant verification so the user would not have to be all the time putting his finger on his fingerprint reader, something ideal for people in a hurry who do not have time or for these extra steps.
Sony WF-1000XM3 10 headphones
Another scenario in which "Ear Echo" It would be useful would be in the authentication of calls. Thanks to this system we could verify with total certainty the person with whom we are speaking; At a time when you can imitate another person's voice with almost complete accuracy, this measure could be useful.
Unfortunately there is no guarantee that one day we will see this technology on the street. Gao explains that they still have a way to go and are working on improving the system to increase its accuracy. This requires more subjects and more tests with different headphone options on the market.
However, we only have to look at the facial recognition and the fingerprint reader; they are technologies that, until very recently, we considered science fiction. Gradually they reached our pockets, being already an inherent part of our life (the best example is undoubtedly the fingerprint reader, something almost futuristic a few months ago). Hopefully, this biometric system could be a great solution to further increase our technological security.
Who knows, maybe one day our bank will ask us for information about the shape of our inner ear.