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NEC can verify your identity using sound-capturing earbuds

Biometric authentication goes way beyond your fingerprint.
Billy Steele
March 8, 2016
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Sure, you could use your fingerprint to unlock your phone, but NEC developed a way to verify your identity with your ears. The corporation announced technology this week that used the way in which sound resonates in the ear canal to identify a person. Ear shape is also unique to each of us, so NEC created a way for microphone-equipped earbuds to measure the acoustics after sending out a sound. What's more, the company says the technology works with 99 percent accuracy and only takes about a second to take its measurements.

"Since the new technology does not require particular actions such as scanning a part of the body over an authentication device, it enables a natural way of conducting continuous authentication," NEC's Shigeki Yamagata explained.

If you're hoping to try out the in-ear tech sometime soon, you're going to have to be patient. NEC says it's working to commercialize the system during the 2018 fiscal year. As far as implementation goes, the company sees the best uses for the authentication technology to ensure security of critical infrastructure and continually verifying someone's identity during confidential calls. NEC also aims for the system to be used in navigation or voice guidance situations where the directions are only intended for one person.

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