Researchers Say Perception of Light Can Be Used for Authentication

A research team at the National Technical University of Athens has proposed a new authentication mechanism based on how individuals perceive light.

Researchers Say Perception of Light Can Be Used for AuthenticationAs the MIT Technology Review explains, the system relies upon variations in how each individual perceives the photons of which light consists. The human eye is capable of detecting even a single photon, but there are variations in how this information makes its way through the retina and into the brain, and each individual might perceive a random scattering of photons differently.

The National Technical University of Athens researchers suggest that once the unique perceptual capabilities of an individual’s eye have been determined, a photons could be flashed to her eye in such a pattern that they deliver a particular symbol that only she can see. The researchers say that the probabilities of a false positive and a false negative with such a system could approach one in a billion and one in ten thousand respectively.

There are serious issues concerning the practical applicability of this system, of course. As the MIT Technology Review notes, the researchers haven’t actually proposed how an individual’s perceptual patterns could be mapped, and also that such patterns would change alongside commonplace physiological changes associated with aging and even catching the flu or drinking alcohol. Nor is it clear how feasible it would be to implement the proper light-emitting technology into a device.

Still, it’s an interesting concept, and another example of the new frontiers of biometric authentication that continue to open up as biometrics research advances.

Sources: MIT Technology Review, Cornell University Library

April 26, 2017 – by Alex Perala