Electronic ‘Pet’ Could Replace Passwords and PINs

Northumbria University psychologist and computer scientist Pamela Briggs and Newcastle University computer scientist Patrick Olivier say portable electronic pets capable of recognizing their owner’s voice and walking style could replace passwords and PINs to secure personal information. Instead of storing a person’s biometric signature in a database, that information would be kept in a small electronic pet or “biometric daemon” the owner carries around. The daemon would learn to imprint itself on its owner, after which it would use biometric signals such as a voiceprint, fingerprint, or walking pattern to identify its owner. The connection between the owner and pet would be strengthened by games and interactions between the two. When near its owner, the daemon would receive “nourishment,” and act happy as a confirmation of the owner’s identity, but a daemon separated from its owner would no longer receive this nourishment and die to protect the owner’s information. Olivier says the elements needed to make a prototype daemon already exist, although adequate battery power is still problematic. Briggs says the daemon does not have to be an animal, but it should be something people relate to best.
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