Biometrics is the science of humans’ physiological or behaviourial characteristics and it’s being used to develop technology that recognizes and matches unique patterns in human fingerprints, faces and eyes and even sweat glands and buttock pressure. Its applications in the financial realm are a potentially huge time and effort saver, but that’s just a beginning for the technology’s usefulness.
The next generation of fingerprinting is being developed to go beyond simple recognition to incorporate pressure sensors that can determine if a device is being touched by a live object or not, which helps with fraud detection.
A New York-based technology company says its patented sweat-gland recognition technology will help add even more security to existing biometric devices that may be susceptible to fraud. “With most of the biometric technologies, there are ways around most of those technologies — you could lift somebody’s fingerprint and create a Latex copy, you can create a contact lens to copy somebody’s iris and so on and so forth. We think we’ll be the only technology that’s ‘spoof-proof,’ ” says Scott McNulty, president and chief executive of
BIOPTid Inc., which owns “the human barcode” technology. The company’s One Touch cube, set to be on the market within a year, is an external device that users can hook up to their computers and mobile electronics to replace passwords for Internet logins and banking. The cube reads a personal sweat gland barcode to verify identity from the moisture on a user’s fingertip. “With one touch, you can log right into your social networking site, right onto your page. You can instantly purchase something without having a credit card or form of ID,” he says.
The move to digital tech for travel is happening in Canada too, which started unrolling e-passports this year. Travellers who want to avoid long border-crossing lines can also sign up for the Canadian Border Services Agency’s Nexus program, which uses kiosks to scan the iris of a person’s eye and verify their identity.
Thanks to Japanese researchers at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology, a car seat is being developed that aims to identify a driver by reading body pressure — technology dubbed “butt biometrics” by some tech press following its introduction last year.
Beyond simple identification, biometric situational awareness tools can also help make a judgment call. For example, facial expression recognition is not just about identifying a person, but drawing conclusions about their emotional state.
Thermal monitoring technology has already been used at airports to detect travellers with elevated body temperature that may by carrying diseases, Ms. Yanushkevich notes.