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.”
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