New headphones can verify the user’s identity

Stripe’s identity verification product

New headphones can verify the user's identity

A team of researchers has developed a technology that allows you to confirm the user’s identity by analyzing the geometry of the ear canal through headphones..

Discussing how most students wear headphones, engineers at the State University of New York at Buffalo decided to create a biometric tool that would be an alternative way to authenticate instead of a password, fingerprint, or face recognition..

To create a prototype, they redesigned conventional wireless in-ear headphones with a miniature microphone embedded inside, and also developed special acoustic signal processing methods to limit noise interference and channels to exchange information between system elements. The invention was named EarEcho.

The principle of the system is that when sound propagates in the ear canal, it is reflected and absorbed, creating a unique signature that is recorded by the microphone. This information is collected and sent via the Bluetooth connection of the headphones to the smartphone, where it is analyzed. Since the ears of all people are different, the received signatures are also.

New headphones can verify the user's identity

During the testing of the device, recordings with speech, music and other audio samples were used, and the tests were carried out in various environmental conditions (outdoors, in a shopping center, etc.) and in different positions of the user (sitting, standing, with a bowed head).

With authentication in one second, the prototype efficiency was 95%, and when the analysis lasted 3 seconds, the system performance improved to 97.5%.

According to the development team, the technology can be used to unlock smartphones, confirm mobile payments and other actions that require identity verification. In this case, the user does not need to perform any additional actions, but simply listen to music through headphones.

Recently, engineers have also developed the first self-contained flexible microbattery contact lens that can power built-in electronics for several hours to play and transmit visual information wirelessly..

text: Ilya Bauer, photo: University at Buffalo, autogear