There's little doubt that PIN codes are lousy security measures. They're not only easy to crack (there are just 7,290 non-repeating four-digit combos), but hard to remember at first. Intelligent Environments thinks there's a better way: replace them with emoji. Its Android banking app asks you to pick from 44 familiar messaging icons for your passcode, which both expands the potential combinations (to nearly 3.5 million) and should be easier to recall than either numbers or words. The emoji should also eliminate the temptation to use readily available info -- "penguin police pumpkin lipstick" isn't as easy to deduce as your birthday.
An emoji-only system isn't as secure as either a good conventional password or, better yet, unique-to-you authentication methods like fingerprints. The special characters could add to the complexity of existing passwords, however, and they'd raise the baseline for security in those situations where alphanumeric codes aren't very practical. They're not foolproof, but they beat the status quo.