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Using Skull Vibrations to Identify Individuals

The sound of one’s skull vibrations might, one day, replace the use of passwords. The scientific paper documenting this is published in the Journal of the ACM.


Biometric security (from fingerprinting sensors to iris scanning) is deemed to be more reliable than your regular password. A new form of this technology, recently developed by German scientists, and called SkullConduct, is based on the vibrations in skulls which display specific traits of people.

Skull vibrations emitted as a response to an ultrasonic stimulus might be just as unique as fingerprints are, according to the team of scientists. If this is so (and it probably is, since, when tested, the system was able to successfully identify participants of the study 97% of the time), it could be used to individually identify people. The technique would be used for simple things such as logging into one’s email account, or for more high-security purposes like accessing the Pentagon.

Measuring the skull vibrations needs a medium: for instance, a headset or similar equipment will be fitted onto the individuals. The researchers who are from the University of Stuttgart, the University of Saarland, and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, are actually working on a device bearing resemblance to the Google Glass one. This might eventually be included in smartphones for the identification; this would mean the phone would have to be held to one’s head to identify one.

Biometric security is considered to be more reliable as the markers are not easy to replicate by those intending to get past security measures.

SkullConduct is reminiscent of a similar work that is based on using brain waves to identify individuals.


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