Going are the days of remembering a zillion passwords for a slew of credit cards. Your heart is soon going to put your mind at ease by beating away all those passwords and becoming a code by itself.
You read that right.
Canadian start-up Bionym is testing a wearable device using near field communication (NFC) technology. This device, called the Nymi, is possibly the first biometric alternative for contactless mobile based payments in a multibank program for the common man. The pilot project is set to kick off with customers of the Royal Bank of Canada.
How does it work?
Bionym’s NYMI wristband has an NFC chip embedded in contactless credit cards that are fed inside a wristband. The device then records the wearer’s “unique heartbeat” or electrical pattern of the cardiac rhythm to verify the identity. The wristband uses an ECG sensor that will acknowledge the individual heart rhythm to authenticate and unlock. Once unlocked the wearer can leave the phone at home and the device will still be activated.
A solution to credit card thefts?
Now that’s a question to ponder.
Credit card thefts happen in two prominent ways: one, where a reader strip planted in the terminal captures credit card data when it is swiped; and second, by breaking into a merchant terminal and retrieving a card holder’s credentials.
Bionym’s patented (US 20140188770 A1) wristband technology can help prevent the first method of theft as there is no requirement to swipe a card. For the second form of theft, upgrades in NFC technology allow unique card number generations for each transaction thereby negating the other method.
Unlock with a wave
Nymi has been designed to support Windows, OS X, iOS and Android platforms. This will allow the bracelet to also be used to unlock devices and log into websites and apps. While this is just the beginning and the product is yet to be launched, Bionym has already begun working on developing it to the next level of gesture-recognition to operate smart appliances.
So while you place your band to make your card payments, soon enough you can switch TV channels or moderate the temperature in your thermostat with just a wave of your band.
(Featured image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/joebeone/2295565548)