Heartbeat as the New Password : A Look at Nymi

Passwords are said to be moving towards extinction so many technologies are currently devising new ways to secure online accounts. There are those which recommend using brain waves, fingerprints and even magic rings. And the latest product which has just come out is a wristband named Nymi which confirms a user’s identity through electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors which can monitor heartbeat and even authenticate different devices, ranging from iPads to cars.

According to Bionym, the company which developed this device, the peaks and valleys of a person’s heartbeat are actually more difficult to imitate than the external features of biometric systems such as fingerprints.

How to register an identity? Simple—the user would just have to touch a sensor that is located on top of the wristband for about two minutes and then Nymi records an ECG signature. In order to access a device, the user would again touch the top of the wristband for several seconds so that Nymi could cross-reference the heartbeat. After the authentication process, the system will then communicate to an app that runs on a designated device. If the wristband is removed, the devices which are linked to it will automatically lock.

Nymi also have gesture control capacities. So the user could, for instance, designate a wave of the hand to the unlocking of a car’s passenger-side door. Aside from this, a secure payment feature is on the pipeline, where a user can swipe his wrist in a check-out lane and have funds directly debited from his bank account. This product will also include vibrating features so that users could be alerted whenever email or social media messages are received.

Pre-orders of this wristband begin on Sept. 4. Launch prices start at $79 and are expected to remain under $100. The first Nymi editions will be compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS X devices. Here’s a video which further gives you a glimpse of Nymi: