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Yahoo tests ear-based identification systems for smartphones

Yahoo tests ear-based identification systems for smartphones

Yahoo is currently working on a method of unlocking your mobile phone through ear-print technology.

Yahoo fingerprint technologyFingerprint scanners on mobile devices are increasingly popular, although they can be costly to manufacture. Yahoo is looking to use a phone’s touch screen to identify users and by looking into new methods of authentication, consequently technology prices will also be reduced.

Along with ear print technology, the company is also looking to identify user’s fists or even the way a user grips their smartphone, as an alternative to fingerprints. The system being developed at Yahoo has been named ‘Bodyprint’ and has had initial trials with 12 participants, where so far it has identified body parts with a 99.98% accuracy and users with a 99.5% accuracy. Ear scanning was the most successful test, with a 99.8% accuracy rate.

One benefit of an ear-based identification system was that it offered greater privacy than facial recognition, Professor Sasse from University College London’s department, told the BBC. The latest research into biometrics, which is focused more on behaviour, can be incredibly accurate over finger print identification.

“Due to their cost, capacitive fingerprint scanners have been limited to top-of-the-line phones, a result of the required resolution and quality of the sensor,” stated the Yahoo project team.

“The surface area [of the touch screen] is large, allowing the touch sensor to scan users’ body parts, such as ears, fingers, fists and palms by pressing them against the display”, they continued.

Fingerprint scanners have actually proved to be vulnerable to hackers in recent years and in April, security firm FireEye identified how hackers could make copies of fingerprints to unlock mobile phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S5.