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Dynamic device position key to usability of biometrics, HYPR and Mitre study finds

Categories Biometric R&D  |  Biometrics News

Biometric fingerprints are easier for diverse populations to use than PINs, but PINs are easier to use than eye and palm biometrics, according to a new usability study. HYPR and the Mitre Corporation have collaborated on an accessibility study for biometric and passwordless user experiences which the companies say is the first study of its kind.

Researchers investigated the usability of passwordless multi-factor authentication schemes for users with and without disabilities, comparing fingerprint, eye, and palm recognition with each other and one non-biometric modality (PIN). They issued a Usability Metric for User Experience (UMUX) questionnaire to 29 participants in the study, with a range of visual and hearing challenges. One in five U.S. adults has a disability, and the population is aging, so a broad view of usability will likely be necessary for biometrics adoption to meet the industry’s ambitions.

Nearly half of individuals with vision loss were not able to complete eye biometric authentication, and over a third were not able to complete palm authentication. Interestingly, while eye biometrics were found to be usable by nearly 90 percent of individuals with hearing loss, and over 90 percent of individuals with no disability, roughly a quarter of participants from both groups were unable to complete palm authentication.

Response times were lowest among all groups for fingerprint authentication, at about 5 seconds, while palm authentication took over 20 seconds for people with either hearing or vision loss, and eye authentication took over 15 seconds for both groups. PIN authentication took significantly longer for people with vision loss, while those without disabilities had similar response times for PINs, eye, and palm biometrics.

The researchers conclude that dynamic device positioning, in which users are required to position a device in relation to their bodies, is a key consideration for evaluating the usability of biometrics.

The “Usability of Biometric Authentication Methods for Citizens with Disabilities” aims to yield insights that can allow public-facing government websites to be optimized for greater accessibility, according to the announcement. The work is scheduled to be published in the 2019 IRS Research Bulletin.

HYPR recently closed an $18.3 million Series B financing round to drive growth and accelerate new product delivery.

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