Canadian startup Bionym has developed a smart bracelet that will allow you to automatically login to your device, unlock your car or even open your front door, among many other things.
The company's President and CEO, Dr. Karl Martin says that face recognition, fingerprint identification and retinal scanners are all poor forms of security that really aren't much better than the basic password system we have been using forever now. He says that these are all personal attributes that we leave behind everywhere we go.
His smart bracelet dubbed the Nymi, will attempt to change all that. With over 10 years of R&D behind it, the bracelet makes use of the electrical activity radiating from a person's heart. It is in this technology that Martin claims the device is significantly more reliable than the aforementioned forms of security.
Every person's heart generates extremely unique electrical activity, or ECG, of which the Nymi identifies and integrates into the various functionalities of the device. You can leave your fingerprint behind on something, but you certainly won't be leaving your ECG signature anywhere (as it is being produced inside your body).
At a quick glance the Nymi looks just like your average bracelet. From the moment you put in on and fasten the clasp, the device is constantly authenticating the wearer to ensure maximum security. Not only does it recognize the person wearing it, but also all of that person's devices and other supported devices within a certain proximity.
The proximity sensors play a major role in the technology. You unlock your phone or computer simply by holding it or getting close enough to the device. Dr. Martin is so confident in the security of the Nymi, he sees no issues implementing retail payments, opening car doors, front doors and storing all of your personal passwords. But it goes beyond that, Martin has created the device to be smart appliance ready as well.
He hopes to have the device control much more than credit card info, passwords and the lock to your hotel room. The device is capable of setting the temperature or lighting in a room, remembering your favorite dishwasher, washing machine or TV settings. It has full gesture support as well, a simple flick of the wrist can open your trunk, change the radio station or even make selections on Netflix through your smart TV. There is also "liveliness detection," which sounds as though the system will lock down if the particular user's ECG doesn't register.
Martin is sure that this is the wave of the future, and I think we can all agree that passwords and keys will eventually be phased out. He sees this as an inevitable change that will help everyday people and tech giants like Google.
The Nymi is currently available for preorder on the official site with an expected release date in early 2014. The first run will cost you $80, afterwards the price will shoot up to $100.