The Ultimate Password: You Could Log In With Your Skull Soon


Researchers are adding a new solution to biometric-based authentication systems which currently uses fingerprint and iris scans to authenticate a user.

Hailing from the University of Stuttgart, University of Saarland and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, researchers are developing a technology called SkullConduct that uses a person's unique skull structure to log into smart devices, replacing passwords and user-generated personal identification numbers (PINs).

"We present SkullConduct, a biometric system that uses bone conduction of sound through the user's skull as well as a microphone readily integrated into many of these devices, such as Google Glass," the study writes [pdf].

The researchers explain that since every person's skull is constructed in a unique way, much like a person's fingerprint, the sound waves produced from bouncing within the walls of the skull will be unique as well.

The process involves the use of a reconfigured smart eyeglass device, like Google Glass, to act as a bone conduction speaker and receiver microphone.

The device will emit a second-long subtle audio tone through the side of a person's head that will bounce through the walls of a person's skull.

The resulting sound bits, or waves, will be received by the integrated microphone at the front of the glass which then determines if the user is authenticated to access a device, i.e. a smartphone.

Through a closed experimental study involving 10 individuals, the researchers found the device to work 97 percent of the time.

They also discovered the limitations of the device wherein large amounts of background noise could affect the quality of the sound while a person's varying weight pattern over time would mean inconsistent sound waves.

The results are promising enough, though, and the technology could be further developed down the line as it still after all, in its research phase.

The researchers will be presenting the results of their study in the upcoming Conference for Human-Computer Interaction in San Jose, California, from May 7 to 12.

Photo: Erich Ferdinand | Flickr

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