Feeds

Bionym bracelet promises to replace passwords with ECG biometrics

Until the battery dies or heart gives out, that is

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Bionym, a startup from the University of Toronto, is looking to banish password woes with a bracelet that handles authentication by monitoring your heartbeat.

nymi

Password that's closer to wristy than handy

The Nymi device uses electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors in the top and bottom of the bracelet to build up a unique password based on your heartbeat. Everyone's heartbeat is subtly different and the device can, it is claimed, build a unique password system about this.

Once this has been established, the bracelet can then broadcast this password via Bluetooth to devices that carry the authentication application, when in range. Bionym has also built in an accelerometer and gyroscope to allow for gesture controls, and the team claims that there are hardware functions that stop any password being slurped by passersby.

The device went on preorder on Tuesday for an introductory price of $79 for the first 25,000 punters; just under a thousand have signed up so far, with the unit going on general release next year for $99 per bracelet. It will be available in black, white, and orange.

It's a cute idea, but like so much of biometric security, the devil is in the details. Biometric systems are usually plagued by false positive readings, and while this might not be an issue in this device, we can see a few problem areas.

For example, if you're using the Nymi to log into your phone and suffer a heart attack would you be locked out of calling your doctor? Similarly, battery life will be something to check – lose power at a crucial moment and you could be left locked out of all your devices, including your car, according to the promotional video.

Passwords are a necessary evil in this world, and hardware devices to handle them are nothing new. While the Nymi looks promising, El Reg will wait for some more details before drinking the ECG Kool-Aid just yet. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?