Next Big Thing – heartbeat data security

Forget all this soppy commercialised Valentine’s Day nonsense. In the future you'll be using your heartbeat as a password

Data security? Be still my beating heart

Enough of the sarcasm, please. If your heart was still then you wouldn’t be able to use this fancy new security scanner which can decrypt files based on your heartbeat. Also, you’d be dead.

How does it work?

Chun-Liang Lin and fellow National Chung Hsing University collegues in Taiwan have invented a palm reader (featured in New Scientist) which can translate your electrocardiograph (ECG) reading into a secret encryption key. Each person’s ECG is unique, and you’ll never get an identical key as heartbeats have irregular patterns which are never the same twice.

Will my next laptop have an ECG scanner thing?

Unlikely. It’s a working proof of concept for the time being, with plans to build the tech into external hard drives and other devices that can be encrypted and decrypted with a simple touch. Now we just need locks and cars to follow suit, and lost key syndrome will be banished forever.

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