Better than Fingerprints – Brainprints on their Way

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


A team of researchers from Binghamton University have developed a system that can identify people using brainprint with 100% accuracy. The system may be useful in high security applications.

Researchers for this purpose recorded the brain activity of 50 people wearing an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset while they looked at a series of 500 images designed specifically to elicit unique responses from person to person – e.g. slice of pizza, a boat, Anne Hathaway, the word ‘conundrum’, etc. It was found that participants’ brains reacted differently to each image such that a computer system was able to identify each volunteer’s brainprint with 100 percent accuracy.

“When you take hundreds of these images, where every person is going to feel differently about each individual one, then you can be really accurate in identifying which person it was who looked at them just by their brain activity,” said assistant professor Sarah Laszlo. Sarah believes that brain biometrics are appealing since they are cancellable and cannot be stolen like a finger or retina scan. Thus brain waves can be used to verify a person’s identity. “If someone's fingerprint is stolen, that person cannot just grow a new finger to replace the compromised fingerprint. In the unlikely event that attackers were actually able to steal a brainprint, the authorised user could then ‘reset’ their brainprint,” Laszlo said. The technology has grabbed the eyeballs of many media houses and National Geographic has spent a day interviewing and filming on the University’s campus.

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