Ear Canals Is Even Better Than Face ID And Fingerprints In Securing Your Phone

Har Devarukhkar - Sep 23, 2019

Ear Canals Is Even Better Than Face ID And Fingerprints In Securing Your Phone

Some researchers think that besides faces or fingerprints, it is better to secure your phone by using the ear canals, which you perpetually lose.

The FaceID authentication from Apple has been replacing the fingerprint authentication on mobile devices since fingerprints are said to be less secure. However, researchers have found a special biometric tool, which is almost unable to spoof and secure your device better. It is the ear canal.

EarEcho would help to protect your smartphone better than fingerprints or faces

An associate professor at the University of Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Zhanpeng Jin, has led a team of researchers developing this latest authentication tool. It is called the EarEcho. They modified a set of earbuds along with an extra small microphone pointing inside the ear of the wearer instead of out. This microphone isn’t there for picking up any ambient sounds, facilitating either any noise-canceling feature or human’s voice for calling. It is for listening to the sound’s echoes whenever they are played, then propagate via the ear canal.

Just similar to faces and fingerprints, the ear canal is different in each person. However, while faces and fingerprints could leave a trace whenever users smile for taking a photo or hold a glass, the ear canals can help them avoid these. The ear canal is such a secure and private space and each produces its distinctive signatures depending on the way sounds echo or how they are absorbed. A special microphone which researchers have created can accurately detect that signature, and can be used for identifying people.

You can be locked out of your phone if you lose the earbuds

There were 20 test subjects listening to music, speech and other audio samples. They listened in different environments such as shopping malls, noisy streets, as well as several positions. And the EarEcho could authenticate the user approximately 95% of the time given only a second of the ear canal recording, as well as nearly 97.5% of the time as it was added up to 3 seconds.

This new authentication tool is further improved and developed, hence higher accuracy. The developers have filed a provisional patent application for EarEcho. As a result, it's possible that it will replace face and fingerprint authentication in the near future for better security to your smartphones. Nevertheless, there is a disadvantage that the researchers need to deal with. EarEcho is relying on the earbuds which are specially upgraded, including the extra microphone. Your mobile device will be locked if you lose the headphones, and you need to look for a replacement set.



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