University of Colorado researchers develop new approach for voice biometrics

December 5, 2012 - 

Researchers at the University of Colorado say they’ve solved some of the usual pitfalls for voice biometric technology, including voice instability and spoofing.

RC Johnson and his team at the University’s Colorado Springs campus say have laid out a new approach to voice biometrics that provides secure authentication while also preserving the privacy of the user, The MIT Technology Review reports.

In Johnson’s new system, users set up their accounts by recording a large number of words and phrases which are sent in an encrypted form to create a template for verification. A major concern with the storage of any biometric template is that template falling into the wrong hands and Johnson and his team have come up with a solution they believe eliminates this risk, called Vaulted Voice Verification.

Vaulted Voice Verification is a system in which voice data isn’t transmitted at all. Instead, software sends two encrypted versions of selected words to the mobile phone. One is the user’s voice and the other is spoken by an entirely different person. Software on the phone then has the job of comparing the two samples and determining which is authentic. It then sends back the answer, rather than transmitting the voice recording, making it susceptible to interception and hacking.

According to the MIT Technology Review article, Johnson and his team say their tests indicate that their approach works well and is certainly better than other similar voice biometric systems.

As reported previously in, the use of voice biometrics is on the rise. The National Australia Bank has opted to use voice biometrics to authenticate its phone banking customers, while looking to expand the service.

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Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj