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No fingerprint sensor required: SilentSense knows it’s you from your taps and swipes

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Move over, Touch ID. Apple’s(s appl) new fingerprint sensing technology in the iPhone 5s may soon be joined by an alternative method for recognizing your touch – no fingerprint sensor required. New Scientist has a report on SilentSense, an algorithm that uses your smartphone’s built-in sensors to quickly learn your taps and swipes to determine whether it’s you that’s using your phone.

SilentSense is currently being developed at the Illinois Institute of Technology. It uses your phone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to measure how much the screen moves when you touch it. It also records the pressure and duration of your touch, as well as the size of your fingertips, to identify you as a unique user. The most obvious application for this is security – you’d be able to set your phone to lock out anyone other than yourself from using it.

According to an initial study of 100 users, SilentSense was able to correctly identify a phone’s owner in 10 taps or less with 99 percent accuracy. But even at with just an average of 2.3 taps the software was 98 percent accurate.

There are still plenty of questions to answer before SilentSense is ready for the real world. If it is always running, what kind of effect will that have on battery life? Right now the software is programmed to stop checking user identity while games are being played. But for most people that probably only accounts for a short period of phone use. And this doesn’t do away with the need for pattern or code to unlock your phone, or drop the need for traditional passwords like Apple’s Touch ID does.

Still, this is an interesting way to bring increased security to mobile devices that lack a fingerprint sensor. It’ll be interesting to see if all of the questions get answered and this technology can make it to the market.

4 Responses to “No fingerprint sensor required: SilentSense knows it’s you from your taps and swipes”

  1. Fingerprint and Touch ID are getting a lot of traction in the news these days as Apple is set to roll out the new iphone 5S with this biometric add-on on September 20th. Touch ID will all but eliminate the need for passwords and pins when using your iphone 5s. But, what happens if you don’t have the new phone? What options do users who have an Android, Blackberry or Microsoft device or a iphone 4s, 5 or even new 5c have available to them? EyeVerify!

    EyeVerify is the exclusive provider of Eyeprint Verification, a highly accurate biometric
    for mobile devices. Eyeprint Verification delivers a password-free mobile experience and secure authentication at a glance. This patented solution uses existing cameras on smartphones to image and pattern match the blood vessels in the whites of the eyes. Best of all, you can get this technology right now for your existing device as long as your device has a 1 mega pixel camera.

    Apple’s TouchID and the Eyeprint accomplish the same ultimate end goal. It is an accurate, secure & simple way to answer the question “Who is holding the phone?” Eyeprint Verification just happens to be more accessible to more of the population trying to solve the password problem.

    To learn more about the differences in these technologies:
    Check us out online
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    Follow us on twitter @eyeverify
    Watch us on YouTube
    Contact us to schedule an interview at [email protected]

  2. “Move over, Touch ID”

    Really? The two technologies don’t solve the same problem – you admit as much in your article – so why would you lead with a sentence like that? Weird, just weird….

    Also, I’m having trouble figuring out exactly what problem this SilentSense tech solves. I can’t use it to unlock my phone, and once I have unlocked my phone with something else, every once in a while this program will think i’m someone else? And what, lock my phone again? No thanks…

  3. No no, you’re missing the whole point here.
    How am I gonna easily and quickly unlock my phone?

    Okay, here’s the scenario; I locked my iPhone with this “SilentSensor”.. Do I have to hold my phone and touch on the lockscreen a bit to unlock my phone? Or it opens a phony home screen for me to manipulate for a while and then it unlocks?

    Come on, I’d just tap on the home button an thats it!