The brainwaves associated with an individual’s reaction to a certain word can be used for identification, according to a NewScientist article by Bas den Hond. The finding comes from a research team at the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language led by Blair Armstrong.
The researchers monitored the brainwaves of 45 volunteers as they were read a list of acronyms, and then ran the brainwave data through specialized software to analyze the differences between individuals. Their system was actually able to identify each volunteer based on brainwave differences – which themselves arise from the different memories and associations that each volunteer subconsciously connects to each acronym – and it did so with an accuracy of 94 percent. While that’s not quite accurate enough for this system to be used as standalone security, den Hond points out that it does offer a unique capacity for continuous identification. And paired with another form of identification, that prove a valuable addition to the security apparatus. Moreover, Armstrong thinks it could be refined to provide even stronger results.
It’s certainly an unusual form of identification, but such intangible biometric technologies are increasingly being explored. Behavioral biometric systems, for example, are starting to catch fire, and even the identification of idiosyncratic movement patterns is being implemented into multimodal biometric systems. Brainwave authentication might sound like the stuff of science fiction right now, but it’s clearly a feasible means of identification, and it could have a big role to play in the security systems of the future.
(May 21, 2015 – by Alex Perala