Nuance’s Dragon ID lets you unlock your phone by voice

Updated. In the last few months, Nuance Communications(s nuan) has launched Dragon TV, Dragon Drive and even an Android version of Dragon Go, its Siri-like Semantic search app. Now we have a new Dragon to contend with: Dragon ID, a voice identification application that allows you to unlock your phone with your larynx.

While typical phone unlocking programs require tapping in a short code or tracing a pattern on screen, Nuance’s technology uses two layers of security: biometrics, which recognizes your unique “voice imprint,” and a password or pass phrase – which in this case is spoken not typed, said Kenneth Harper, Senior Product Manager, Nuance. Nuance has been selling the technology for years to businesses and governments for use in their own biometric security systems – with 20 million voice prints on file – but this is the first time it’s offering up its technology to consumer phones and tablets.

Got a cold? According to Harper it shouldn’t matter. Its technology is designed to recognize the unique characteristics of a speaker’s voice even if it is compromised by nasal congestion – if your jaw is wired shut, it might be a good idea to disable voice recognition. As for background blather, Nuance has devoted a lot of brain power to picking out voices from ambient noise, though there may be limits as to how much precision it can implement in the software.

Much of Nuance’s raw power comes from its cloud-based services, which require a network connection to access. Dragon ID software, however, will be localized on the phone so users can unlock their devices even when they don’t have network connections.

Don’t expect to go to the iTunes App Store(s AAPL) or Google Play to download Dragon ID, though. Nuance is selling the technology to handset and other device makers, which will implement it at the factory level. It will support English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean on Android(s goog) devices, though Nuance said it will support other operating systems and more languages this year.

Update: Nuance has posted a demo video of the Dragon ID technology: