The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), a self-proclaimed innovation catalyst in Australia, has developed new technology which it claims could use the way a person walks as a new authentication method.
The organisation's Data61 researchers have developed a prototype wearable device that they claim can capture an individual's unique energy generation pattern. The technology is equipped with small sensors called accelerometers, which can be used to capture an individual's gait in terms of motion and velocity. However, up until now, the sensors have dramatically reduced battery life of werable devices and this is why gait authentication hasn't become widely adopted.
Researchers at CSIRO's Data61 have come up with a new method by combining gait recognition with a technique called kinetic energy harvesting (KEH) - this translates a person's motion into electrical energy and improves battery life, they said.
"By applying both techniques we have developed a way to achieve two goals at once - powering devices and the ability to verify a person's identity using a wearable device by capturing the energy generated from the way they walk," Sara Khalifa, one of the researchers, said.
The researchers then had to test how secure KEH gait authentication is, so they conducted a trial on 20 users. Users walked in several environments including on carpet indoors, grass outdoors, and asphalt terrains to capture the natural gait changes over time and surfaces.
CSIRO claimed that the trial showed that KEH-Gait can achieve an authentication accuracy of 95 per cent and reduce energy consumption by 78 per cent compared to conventional accelerometer-based authentication techniques.
The system was also tested against people who aimed to imitate an individual's motions - just as a criminal would do to bypass security. The analysis found that 13 out of 100 imposter trials were wrongfully accepted by the system as the right person.
According to Dali Kafaar, group leader of the networks research group at Data61, the benefit of using KEH-Gait is that it is more convenient than passwords, pins, signatures and fingerprints as gait can be sampled continuously and verified without having to adjust anything.
"It's also more secure than passwords because the way we walk is difficult to mimic. Since the KEH-gait keeps authenticating the user continuously, it collects a significant amount of information about our movements, making it difficult to imitate or hack unlike guessing passwords or pin codes," he said.
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