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Motiv's fitness ring will log you in with a wave of your hand

Just waggle your fingers to log into your online accounts with 2FA.
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Andrew Tarantola / Engadget

Motiv has made a number of significant functional improvements since first releasing its fitness monitoring ring back in 2017, including Android support and sleep tracking. As of today, your Motiv ring will be capable of even more technological feats, though they're not the sorts of tricks one normally associates with fitness wearables.

In short, with the app update slated to go live this morning, Motiv rings now serve as 2-factor authentication devices, keeping your digital life as healthy as your real one. The ring offers two different types of 2FA protections: active token authentication, wherein users make specific hand gestures to gain access to their online accounts (which you can see below), and passive biometric identification, which identifies users by their particular walking gaits.

The 2FA hand motion is easy to perform, just hold your hand flat with the thumb pointed up, then rotate your wrist back and forth. The ring interprets that movement and sends the correct authentication code. But it's not as if just any schmuck with a Motiv ring can walk up to your laptop and unlock it by wiggling their hands. You'll have to first pair the ring to your laptop via its bluetooth connection (the same way you paired it to your phone), then activate the ring within each specific web service you want to use it with.

For example, if you want to log into Amazon using the Motiv, you'll have to manually log into Amazon, go to Settings / Advanced Security Settings / Add App before the two will play nice with one another. Other services will thankfully offer QR codes to streamline that process. In all, the Motiv ring will be compatible with 19 services at launch including Slack, Twitter, Google, AWS, Github and Okta. This feature will be live in the public release of the iOS app and the open beta version of the Android app, starting today.

The Motiv ring is also FIDO2 certified, a different authentication protocol which does not rely on passwords at all. While the feature isn't live for Motiv users just yet, the company promises that they'll "soon" be able to use gestures to log into supporting web browsers like Chrome and Edge. Additionally, the company is working on other forms of biometric identification including fingerprints and facial recognition (though those functions would most likely be run through your phone).

But perhaps the coolest new security feature is the Motiv's WalkID, which passively tracks the way you walk to generate a unique identifier not unlike a fingerprint. There's no word yet, however, on what you'd actually use WalkID for.

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