Canadian Startup Wants to Replace Passwords With Your Heartbeat

Illustration for article titled Canadian Startup Wants to Replace Passwords With Your Heartbeat

Passwords are almost undisputedly broke: seemingly every month, a different major online service gets hacked, along with all your credit card details (and a few celeb's personal photos). A Canadian startup thinks it has the solution: using your heartbeat as the authentication method.

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Bionym's solution relies on a dedicated wearable, which uses an ECG sensor to measure the electrical activity from your heart (apparently as sensitive as a fingerprint), and thereby authenticate logins and transactions. Although their wearable, dubbed Nymi, isn't available for order quite yet, they've still managed to raise $14 million in seed funding, to try and make their vision reality.

It's certainly a neat idea, although I'm not sure that a dedicated wearable will catch on. A much better option would seem to be integrating the sensor (and back-end authentication software) into existing smartwatches, which are already sporting heartbeat sensors, and, in the case of the Apple Watch, will already be set up to make payments in hundreds of thousands of stores nationwide. If the ECG reading is really as individual (and secure!) as promised, that could be a killer functionality. [Bionym via Forbes]

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DISCUSSION

I would be interested in seeing how well this would work with people like me that have persistent Atrial Fibrillation. My heartbeat is all over the scale with no real regularity at all.

I would like a device that could monitor my afib though - and that may be a by product of this gadget.