Security News

Nymi Is A Heartwave

Nymi Is A Heartwave: Passwords could be passé if this Toronto-based startup has its way. Bionym, which was founded in 2011 and closed a $1.4 million (CAD) seed round last month, has devised a biometric recognition system in the form of a wearable wristband — called Nymi, just launched as a pre-order for $79 for early 2014 shipping.

The wristband relies on authenticating identity by matching the overall shape of the user’s heartwave (captured via an electrocardiogram sensor). Unlike other biotech authentication methods — like fingerprint scanning and iris-/facial-recognition tech — the system doesn’t require the user to authenticate every time they want to unlock something. Because it’s a wearable device, the system sustains authentication so long as the wearer keeps the wristband on.

To authenticate via Nymi, the user puts the wristband on and touches a topside sensor with one hand to complete an electrical loop with the bottom-side sensor touching their wrist. That generates the ECG data used to authenticate their identity, and the wristband transmits the ECG (via Bluetooth) to the corresponding registered app, on a smartphone or other device in proximity to the user, to verify the wearer is who they say they are.

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