Nymi Bracelet Uses Heartbeat as Password To Do Digital Chores

Image: Nymi Bracelet Uses Heartbeat as Password To Do Digital Chores

Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 08:36 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The Nymi bracelet could make passwords a thing of the past, using heartbeat identification technology to unlock one's car, access one's personal computer, and even pay for a cup of coffee with the simple swipe of the wrist.

The device, produced by the Canadian technology startup Bionym, monitors a person's cardiac rhythm, which is unique for each individual.

Once placed on the wrist, the band authenticates the user, allowing them to wirelessly interact with multiple devices, shutting down only when removed from the wrist or worn by another user – which deactivates the device, locking out the other person, according to Bionym.com.

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The Nymi works by monitoring one's heartbeat through an electrocardiogram sensor, while a built-in proximity sensor and motion detector allows the user to carry out the desired tasks, CNET.com notes.

Still in the prototype stage, the Nymi will not be able to unlock one's car, log onto one's tablet, or control a television set just yet.

The identification device will however turn on Android, iOS, Macs, and Windows machines, with the download of an app.

Bionym has begun selling the Nymi online at the sticker price of $79 for the first 25,000 people who order it. The price will jump to $99 for all subsequent orders. The shipping date is scheduled for early spring of 2014, CNET.com reported.

In the meantime, Bionym is reportedly aggressively seeking investors to expand the business so that one day the device is compatible with the various products and services it cites above.

This isn't the first time researchers have developed a system by which a person's heart rate replaces a password.

Chinese researchers last February announced the development of an encryption system that also relies on the unique pattern of one's heartbeat to act as a key, the New Scientist reported.

Using an electrocardiograph (ECG), researcher Chun-Liang Lin at the National Chung Hsing University in Taichung in Taiwan, was with the help of his colleagues able to extract unique mathematical features underlying a heart beat's pattern, which they hoped to encrypt into an external hard drive that can be accessed simply by touching, the Daily Mail reported.

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Related stories:

Irregular Heartbeat Leads to Mental Decline: Study

Number of Americans With Irregular Heartbeat Projected to Soar

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