A password for your eyewear computer: The sound of your skull

Could the unique frequency response your skull makes when hit with an ultrasonic signal be a good way for authenticating yourself to an eyewear computer (e.g. Google Glass, or a VR headset)?

A group of researchers from the University of Stuttgart, the University of Saarland and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany thinks so.

Granted, their testing has been done only on 10 participants, but the method identified users with 97% accuracy, and authenticated them with an equal error rate of 6.9%.

SkullConduct

They dubbed this biometric system SkullConduct. It uses the bone conduction speaker and microphone integrated into the eyewear computer, and analyses the characteristic frequency response of an audio signal sent through the user’s skull.

It could be used to:

  • Protect users’ private content, as such protection is currently unavailable for devices such as Google Glass.
  • For additional authentication, e.g. when a banking app is started via Google Glass, the solution can re-authenticate the user so that he is allowed to access the application data.
  • For personalizing eyewear computers (e.g. when multiple users use a single device on a regular basis).

eyewear computer

“While other biometric systems require the user to enter information explicitly (e.g., place the finger on a fingerprint reader), our system does not require any explicit user input,” they noted.

This definitely seems like the most logical and easiest to use authentication method yet for this type of wearable computers.

More testing and evaluation is still needed to see whether the system would be as accurate if there is reasonable background noise or if the users’ appearance changes (hair growth, gained weight), but so far it looks promising.