Forget fingerprints and retina scan, we will soon have Ear-based login

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Ear-based Login using echo from user’s internal ear canal to debut in 2018 say researchers

If you thought fingerprints and retina scan were the ultimate in authentication technology, you are mistaken. Starting 2018, we may soon have a new system of authentication using a person’s ear to authorize him to access sensitive information like banking etc.

Over the years, fingerprints and retina scans have been found to be easily hackable but researchers say it is impossible to fake or recreate an user’s internal ear canal which the basic requirement of ear-based login.

The ear-based login system has been developed by researchers from NEC and it works by sending sound into someone’s ear and then measuring the echoes they receive. The echo is based on sound reflected from someone’s external ear canal, the tympanic membrane, and by sound that goes beyond the tympanic membrane and is reflected within the inner parts of the ear. The response received through echo is then converted into digital sound. The researchers state that this digital echo becomes like a unique ID for each person.



NEC says that it has tested the new login system and found it to have a accuracy of 99%. It said that if the ear-based login technology is implemented it can protect users from cyber frauds and other issues related to online hacking because the internal canal of any individual is impossible to be recreated for malicious intent.

NEC says that the prime candidate for using this technique is smartphones, where a user can unlock the phone using his ear. It can also be used  to answer a call on a locked smartphone which a unknown person cant. The smartphone, already equipped with speakers and microphones, could find it very easy to launch the signal, listen for the response, and authenticate the user.

NEC says that this entire process takes around one second, which is about the same time that fingerprint and iris scanners also need.

NEC will commercialise the technique and hopes that it will be used widely by 2018.

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