Wearables could use gait behavior to pair with other devices

January 9, 2017 - 

Researchers have determined that wearable devices could use an individual’s gait behavior — the unique way in which the person walks — to securely pair with other devices on their body, according to a report by New Scientist.

“The authentication key is in your gait,” said Stephan Sigg, an assistant professor in the Department of Communications and Networking at Aalto University in Finland.

Sigg and his team analyzed several individual’s gaits using accelerometers and a technique called fuzzy cryptography, where they successfully developed gait “fingerprints”.

Their research found that sensors on different parts of a person’s body recorded fingerprints that were 82 percent similar.

This was significantly higher than the recorded fingerprints from different bodies, which were found to be only 50 percent similar.

This method could be used to pair wearable devices. That is, if two devices record a gait fingerprint that is similar enough, they know they are being worn by the same person and can automatically connect to each other without the individual having to enter a password or unlock their smartphone.

One benefit of using this method is that it all occurs unnoticeably in the background, said René Mayrhofer at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.

She points out that gait authentication is not as secure as fingerprint or iris scanning, and rather, is “more comparable to face or voice recognition.”

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.