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NYU working on gesture-based authentication for growing tablet market


Napa Sae-Bae, a doctoral student at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, is working on developing gesture-based authentication for tablet computing that one-day might replace the use of passwords.

The aim of her research is to devise a way for tablet computing technology to recognize its user’s biometric traits, such as the unique shape of a hand or finger, in order to replace passwords that can be easily compromised.

Studies conducted by Sae-Bae found that tablet apps with gesture-based authenticated is more secure, memorable and enjoyable alternatives to pass codes and passwords.

Such an approach is a radically new method of authentication, which makes use of behavioral biometrics that is inherent to the geometry and movement of the hand. Sae-Bae created a five-finger gesture authentication technique and is now working with NYU faculty to enhance it.

The gesture authentication technology has a tremendous amount of promise due to rapid growth of tablet computing.

A study earlier this year conducted by Ipsos MediaCT found that ownership of tablet computers among households with annual incomes of more than US$100,000 grew from 21 percent in September 2011 to 28 percent in March 2012. The market research firm found that overall tablet ownership increased from 10 to 16 percent in that period and that more people are getting interested in buying tablets.

A Gartner study found that Apple’s iPad tablet computer remains the category champion, although its unit market share is slightly slipping this year. The market research firm estimates that there will be 73 million iPads sold in 2012, representing 61.4 percent of the global market. That compares with 40 million sold last year and two-thirds of the market. Tablets running on the Android operating system will have sales of 37.9 million units this year with a share of 31.9 percent, Gartner estimates, compared with 17.3 million units and a 28.8 percent share last year.

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