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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

EarEcho uses your ear to unlock the phone

Usually, to unlock a smartphone, we use several ways such as entering a password / PIN, fingerprint scan to face our face in front of the smartphone (face recognition). In the near future, it is likely that there will be a new way to unlock smartphones, which is enough via the earphones we are using.
The new gadget called EarEcho, boasts modified earbuds that use sound waves to identify the unique geometry of the ear canal. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2Y9kxG2)
All beginning from seeing most students using earphones while on campus, a computer scientist and professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo named Zhanpeng Jin intrigued to add the functionality of an earphone to unlock a smartphone. Together with his team, he finally made a prototype of EarEcho is described in a paper in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies.

The EarEcho is a wireless earphone that is able to authenticate identity through the unique shape of the ear canal geometry of each smartphone user. When a sound enters the user's ear via EarEcho, the small microphone contained in this earphone will record the reflection of the sound received from the user's ear canal.
When a sound is played into someone’s ear, the sound propagates through and the ear canal reflects and absorbs it—all of which produce a unique signature that a microphone attached to the earbud can record, which then sends the info via Bluetooth to the user’s smartphone for verification. (Credit: U. Buffalo). (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2P6tX0X)
This sound reflection is then analyzed by the program contained in the user's smartphone and becomes the identity of each user. Researchers have also developed acoustic signal processing techniques to reduce the noise that occurs during the process of sound reflection in the user's ear canal to increase the accuracy of the authentication process.

The researchers have tested this prototype in a variety of environmental conditions and various user positions and claimed accuracy of up to 95 percent for the user authentication process within 1 second. Even, The level of accuracy is claimed to increase to 97.5 percent when the user authentication process is made to 3 seconds.

Jin revealed that this technology has the potential to be realized because users do not need to take any action to unlock their smartphones, just by wearing EarEcho. In addition to unlocking smartphones, according to Jin, EarEcho might also be used to simplify the authentication process for mobile payments and others.

Here's Original Study DOI: 10.1145/3351239. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | FUTURITY | SCIENCEDAILY]
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