Bioethics, biometrics, medical technology, neuroscience

>Brain wave biometric key

>New Scientist Tech reports on news of a possible personal identification device in the works:

This novel biometric system should be difficult to forge, making it suitable for high-security applications, claim the researchers behind it. The system was developed by Dimitrios Tzovaras and colleagues at the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, in Greece. It uses an established method for measuring activity in the brain, called electroencephalography (EEG).

EEG measurements identify the location and intensity of millisecond-long fluctuations in electrical activity in the brain via electrodes positioned around a person’s scalp.

First tests are planned in Germany this year. Polish scientists working on the technology in another lab have found the identification to be 88% accurate.

However, John Daugman, a biometrics researcher at the University of Cambridge, UK, questions the practicality of the approach. He says an EEG cap could prove too cumbersome and invasive. “Wearing a wired helmet with sensors on one’s scalp might change the ambiance of the workplace somewhat,” he says.

Similarly, neuroimaging expert Olaf Hauk, also at the University of Cambridge, believes using the system in a wide variety of situations, particularly stressful ones, could complicate the results significantly. “EEG varies greatly depending on a person’s alertness, or mental operations,” Hauk told New Scientist. “You might not want to be taken for someone else at the airport just because you had a bad night before.”

The authors of spy thrillers and milliners should be especially interested. Here’s one hat designer who must be prescient with the motto, “The hat on your head is remarkably representative of what’s going on inside your head.™”

HT to Kristina Kirby at Emerging Technology

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)

Discussion

One thought on “>Brain wave biometric key

  1. >How usless… flashy, great way to impress people, but usless. An EEG is actually quite easy to fake – just bring your PDA along and clip its audio port, via a suitable attenuator, into the sensor pads in the helmet. Have it make simulated brain noises with varying parameters until the lock clicks.Its also very expensive and unreliable, espicially with hair in the way.For effective authentification, combine a pass-key of some type with a combination. And for the security critical, a fingerprint sensor. Two or three dependant checks, all of them very cheap to put in… and if someone breaks through one layer, its usless without the other two.

    Posted by Suricou Raven | January 18, 2007, 5:37 pm

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