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Human heartbeat can be accurate biometric identifier, study concludes

Categories Biometric R&D  |  Biometrics News
Human heartbeat can be accurate biometric identifier, study concludes

Researchers say the heartbeat characteristics of a human person can be used as a biometric feature to identify an individual with high accuracy.

The study is being carried out by research teams of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) in Spain, in collaboration with the Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University of Iran.

According to an announcement on the UC3M website, this can be done by analyzing electrocardiograms (ECG) and five characteristics associated with music. These qualities, which include dynamics, rhythm, timbre, pitch and tonality, are then applied to the sound of heartbeats from which measurements are obtained. The combination of these parameters is unique for each person and can be used for identification with an accuracy rate of 96.6 per cent in initial experiments.

Research team members say this ‘heartbeat biometrics’ identification system has an advantage over other forms of biometrics since some people cannot be identified using certain biometric features due to either injury or other human and natural factors. The heartbeat, on the other hand, is a bio-signal which all human beings, without exception, have.

Carmen Cámara, a researcher from UC3M’s Computer Science Department, who is among the research team, says: “Biometric identification based on cardiac recording has been studied for years, proving to be effective. The main novelty of our work is that we look at the ECG recording, which is a temporary signal, as if it were a sound wave. From there, we analyze this sound wave using the qualities that are commonly used to characterize music.”

Heartbeat biometrics for authentication, or one-to-one matching, are better-established than the same modality for one-to-many matching, with B-Secur receiving FDA approval for its ECG solution last year.

The identification technique, the researchers say, is still under scientific and technological development, and have vowed to continue with the research to completion before any thoughts about commercialization.

Analyzing the system based on the activities of a person (such as walking, running, resting, doing physical exercise or being in a stressful situation) is a critical area in the study, according to the researchers.

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