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Forget fingerprints, soon we’ll be using skull echoes for ID authentication

by • May 3, 2016 • No Comments

Everybody dislikes having to ponder
up and remember multiple sturdy
passwords, and password-creating software is only as sturdy
as the master password you still have to ponder
up and remember. So the next generation of secure ID is biometrics, which so far seems to be fingerprints. But
, fingerprints can be stolen even if which
means chopping your victim’s finger off.

Do you understand
what’s a lot harder to steal? Your skull.

A team of researchers from the University of Stuttgart, Saarland University, and Max Planck Institute for Informatics have developed a new system called SkullConduct, which basically uses your skull echo as a secure form of user identification. In order to do which
, they use bone conduction of sound.


SkullConduct has been created to work with augmented reality glasses such as Google Glass or HoloLens. It uses a combination of built-in microphones and additional electronics to analyze the frequency of a sound transmitted through the wearer’s skull. As everyone’s skull is slightly different, the frequency response will vary allowing for a unique identity to be determined.

When first setting up SkullConduct for a user, white noise is played using bone conduction and then recorded. Mel Frequency Cepstral Coefficient (MFCC) showcases
are then extracted from the recorded audio and a unique identifier classification set. This system
is then repeated and compared to the stored identifier when authentication is required.


Tests involving ten participants demonstrated which
SkullConduct has a 97% accuracy rate, and doesn’t suffer when the device testing identity is repeatedly removed and put back on again. Combine which
with a low cost and easy integration with a number of head-worn objects, e.g. a pair of glasses, and you have a pretty robust user identification system which
could easily be rolled out to the masses.

I like this system, mainly for the reason
you could integrate it into the glasses million of people may already
wear every day. You could then wirelessly link the ID authentication with a smartphone for mobile payments, and set up any number of other devices to accept such an ID test, for example, when using an ATM. I imagine eventually it could be miniaturized to the same size as a typical hearing aid.

[Human skull image courtesy of S S. on Flickr]

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