Forget passwords, your heartbeat can unlock your laptop, phone and even your car. Passwords are considered to be not as secure as some would like for them to be, and are often a total pain to recall, so many companies are trying to cash in on replacing them entirely. Authentication using fingerprints, iris scans, and facial features is the trending field in security. But one company is going deeper into identification and personalization by tapping our heartbeat.
Nymi, created by the Canadian company Bionym, is a wristband that confirms your identity through electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors that map your unique heartbeat. It translates that pattern to authenticate various devices, via Bluetooth, like smartphones and cars.
See their demo video here:
It was in the 1960s that scientists learned that our cardiac cycles are unique because the position, shape and size of each heart is different. (Fun fact that might disrupt Nymi's function: During pregnancy a woman's heart can move four inches.) But the unique pattern means that it can accurately identify you—and according to the CEO of Bionym, Karl Martin, is harder to fake than fingerprints, irises or facial features.
Basically, as you can see in their demo, the wearer activates the wristband by touching the top of it, this launches a sensor to map their heartbeat, and then you are ready to go through the entire day without typing in passwords, PINs or carrying keys. Wave your hand or tilt your wrist and the gadget knows whether you are opening your trunk or entering your hotel room.
On the point of the hotel room: Earlier this month at the International Consumer Electronics Show Nymi was positioned as more than just an authentication device, but more as a viable route to the hyper personalization we keep hearing about. The folks at Bionym want you to walk into a restaurant and have the waiter to offer your drink and remember your name. While that sounds sort of awesome, or maybe versions of it, like having your hotel room set up just the way you like when you walk in, I suspect the first order of business is to get Nymi rolled out this year for use as a password sub.
I have to admit, though, as much as I hate keeping track of all my passwords, I'm not sure I'll jump to put on a sci-fi rubber bracelet in various colors. Oddly enough, with all the personalization services the Bionym people want to offer, they are limited by the design of the device itself. Maybe some inspiration needed from this community could lead them to a more personalized version for the personalization device.