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Heartbeats could soon replace passwords

Posted: 17 Sep 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wristband? heartbeat? passwords? Nymi?

A new technology is set to revolutionise the way connected world identifies its users. Right now, we mostly use passwords and PINs to help our technology tell us apart from others, but these mechanisms are frustrating and cumbersome, and they definitely don't feel very futuristic. The Nymi is about to change all that.

The Nymi is a wristband that uses your cardiac rhythm or your unique heartbeat to identify who you are and then relays your identity to any connected thing via Bluetooth. Since the Nymi is something you wear, it offers persistent identity once you are authenticated, which means that you only need to confirm your identity once, rather than every time you want to get access to something.

Bionym, the company behind the Nymi, is getting ready to ship its first batch of wristbands out in the fall of this year to those that have pre-ordered. The team has spent the past couple of months focusing on the design of the device, and it is now in the process of ramping up manufacturing to prepare for public release. Bionym is also focusing on building apps for the Nymi on every platform, including iOS, Android, PC, and Mac.

There are some pretty obvious uses for the Nymi, like using it to unlock your smartphone, access your Gmail, or even possibly paying for a coffee. But the Nymi's identity capabilities move far beyond a password and PIN replacement. It has the potential to personalise the connected world around you.


"Identity is not just about security but also about different profiles and different behaviours that depend on a person's preferences," Bionym CEO and co-founder Karl Martin told Designers of Things. "One of our core interests longer term is adaptive environments. Just in the past year, smart lighting has become very accessible. You can actually buy WiFi-enabled smart lights at Home Depot, and these are the kinds of things that we would like to marry the Nymi capabilities with. It's really going to be about environment and experiences, not just about security."

But as much as walking into a room to have the perfect lighting sounds nice, Bionym realises that the Nymi's immediate draw is reducing the headaches being caused by the abundance of passwords and PINs we have found ourselves having to manage in our daily lives.

"Smart environments and hyper-personalisation are something that excite people, but the whole thing about security, passwords, and unlocking devices is something they understand and is a pain point today," Martin said. "It's great that people can relate to the product both as something that will help with a pain point today as well as the excitement of the future."

- Tom Emrich
??Designers of Things

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