The brain's unique reaction to words could sign people into devices

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Mariella Moon
May 20th, 2015
In this article: research
The brain's unique reaction to words could sign people into devices

Here's one type of biometric authentication you might not have heard of before: using your brain's response to words as your personal identification. Blair Armstrong and his team of researchers from the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language in Spain observed the brain signals of 45 subjects while they read a list of 45 acronyms, such as FBI and DVD. According to New Scientist, they found that the volunteers' brains reacted differently to each one, enough for the system to pinpoint their identities with 94 percent accuracy.

Brain signals are typically hard to analyze, so Armstrong's team decided to focus on the part of the brain associated with reading and recognizing words. That part's in charge of recognizing word definitions, which can have subtle differences between people. It can't replace fingerprint scanners just yet, since you still need to be attached to electrodes for the method to work. But Armstrong believes that the technique could be refined further and developed into a viable alternative to fingerprints.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

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