As incredulous as it sounds, it is indeed true that scientists at “University at Albany” in the US have developed a new biometric based verification concept that utilizes our body sweat to unlock wearable devices and smartphones. Researchers explained that this new approach relies upon analyzing the skin secretions, that is, sweat to generate a unique amino acid profile. This profile is associated with the owner of the device.
The profile gets stored inside the device and is later used to authenticate the owner every time he or she attempts to unlock the device. As per an assistant professor at the University at Albany, Jan Halamek, this method might serve as a “new form of security,” and quite possibly it can fully transform the verification procedure used by electronic devices.
“Using sweat as an identifier cannot be easily mimicked/hacked by potential intruders. It is close to full- proof,” explained Halamek.
The reason why this new approach seems legit and useful as an identity authentication mechanism is that skin secretions contain various small molecules also called metabolites. Each of these molecules can be targeted for performing authentication.
To create a user’s profile, the device will undergo a stage that is referred to as Monitoring Period by the research team. During this phase, the device would measure the sweat levels of the owners continuously, and at different times of the day. After the profile development phase is over, the owner will be verified when holding or wearing the device.
It is evident that this new approach will improve the authentication methods that are being used nowadays. Researchers claim that the current modes of user verification are not much reliable and this is why there is a dire need for a more straightforward and accurate method.
Moreover, it will be helpful for disabled people or those who are unable to move their fingers in a certain direction to unlock the device. Moreover, there won’t be any need to memorize a password. As Halamek noted:
Your sweat will be the most secure password for your smartphone
“Passwords and pins can easily be seen over someone’s shoulder, and there are many internet tutorials on how to create a fingerprint mold that is capable of opening a device. There are also issues with facial recognition, which often does not work correctly.”
The analysis was tested by Halamek, who led this research study, and achieved success; now he is thinking about collaborating with engineers to initiate the implementation process. The study was published [PDF] in the journal ChemPhysChem.