How many times a day do you have to type passwords? From logging in to your computer to using your social media accounts, to even checking your email, passwords can end up taking a lot of time when added together. A Canadian based company called Bionym aims to end that through their new product, called the Nymi wristband.
To make this device work, Bionym has essentially come up with whats called a biometric recognition system. As it turns out, just as everyones fingerprint is different, so is their heartwave, or the way that their heart beats. The Nymi basically reads this heart wave, and can detect that the right person is wearing it through the use of a electrocardiogram sensor. This is different from other devices that are aimed at getting rid of passwords, as they often are based on fingerprints or facial recognition. Because of the fact that this device is wearable, the user does not need to authenticate every time they need to log in to something.
To use the Nymi, the wearer puts the device on their wrist with one sensor facing their wrist, and then touches a top sensor with their other hand. This completes an electrical loop, and generates the data required for the device to work. This data is then transmitted via Bluetooth to an app installed on the wearers computer or smartphone.
The goal of Bionym was to eliminate as many steps as possible to save on time, but still have a device that remains secure and safe. The three tier system ensures that it is safe, but the fact that it remains in an authenticated state as long as the wristband remains on the wearer means that it eliminates a lot of hassle involved with having to type so many passwords.
Not only does the device have an ECG sensor and Bluetooth capabilities, but it also includes the use of an accelerometer and gyroscope so that the user can program gesture unlocking. This could potentially be used for devices other than your computer or smartphone – it could even be used on special locks in your car or home. This will depend on the involvement on developers that can use an API that will be released by Bionym in the near future.
There will be a number of people who are already using fitness bands and might not want to wear two devices. Fortunately for them, Bionym envisions that the Nymi will also be able to be used for fitness purposes, which will be a great fit for the device considering it already has heart monitoring capabilities, an accelerometer and a gyroscope.
The device has a battery that should last around a week per charge. Not only that, but the device also has a corresponding app which can allow for notifications about the device – for example the wearer can choose to be sent a message when the device is authenticated in the morning.
If this device ends up taking off it could really impact the way we interact with not only our devices, but everything that involves a lock. It could even change our fitness routine because of the fact that it incorporates fitness tracking capabilities.
Other privacy concerns are raised by the device, such as the fact that people will not want to be tracked by things like Bluetooth scanners. They will want to choose when to unlock something. For that reason, Bionym has encrypted the data so that it becomes opt-in. That way it also becomes impossible for anyone to steal your identity.
So when is this amazing device supposed to be released? It could be available as early as the beginning of 2014, and will include unlocking capabilities as well as support for a number of third party applications. As time goes on, more and more supported applications should be released and even more features will be added to the device.
Even is the Nymi itself does not end up taking off, it seems that we are headed for a passwordless future. Not only that, but if a device eliminated the hassle of passwords and also includes other features like fitness monitoring, it could prove to be a very successful device. You can pre-order your own now for only $79, which is a rather good price considering the features!