Brainprint - Using Brainwaves for your Password
This technology is not yet ready for prime time, but it is intriguing – scientists from Binghamton University did a proof-of-concept study using brainwaves to identify individuals, a neural password.
They studied 45 volunteers, measuring their electroencephalogram (EEG) while they read 75 different acronyms, such as “FBI.” The EEGs focused on a particular part of the brain representing the “semantic network” – that part of the brain that would be accessed while trying to read an acronym. The researchers hypothesized that different individuals would have unique “idiosyncratic” familiarity with the acronyms, and would therefore have a unique EEG pattern.
Obtaining the pattern required averaging over many presentations. They report, however, that they were able to get sufficient readings using just three scalp electrodes.
They found that the 45 volunteers did indeed have unique responses to the 75 acronyms. They were later able to match the volunteers to their pattern with an 82-97% accuracy. They also found that the patterns were stable over time, maintaining accuracy of identification up to six months in follow up.
This technique is probably too laborious for everyday use, but if higher degrees of accuracy can be achieved it could be useful for high level security access. Whether or not it can be made practical remains to be seen.