The auditory AI start-up RAIsonance has unveiled a new sound-based biometric authentication solution. The SoundPass offering is geared toward access control, and is intended to make it safe to return to public spaces in the wake of COVID-19.
SoundPass is comparable to voice recognition in the sense that it uses sound prompts to create a secure biometric signature. The difference is that that signature is based on a forced cough rather than the spoken word. To use it, people will simply be asked to cough, just as they would when they are at the doctor’s office. If that cough matches sounds that the user has produced in the past, they will be authenticated. If not, they may be denied access to a physical venue.
While the choice of a cough may seem strange, it does have the added advantage of serving as a basic diagnostic tool. A forced cough will have a particular timbre when a person is healthy. However, that can change when a person is sick, or has been exposed to potential hazards. As a result, a cough can serve as an early warning system, and potentially make indoor spaces safer if those who are sick cannot enter and expose other people to an infection.
SoundPass itself is being released as a collection of three apps. The Personal version is free to use, while the Plus version is available for $25 per person annually, and will generate a new QR code every single time that user coughs to verify their identity. That QR code can then be scanned with the Access app to provide proof of identity at different points of entry.
RAIsonance was founded in 2020 in direct response to COVID-19, with financial backing from the National Science Foundation. The company believes that its solution will be popular in the security and healthcare sectors, and indicated that it is working on a separate software-as-a-medical device tool to help diagnose various respiratory ailments. That product is also slated for release before the end of 2021.
SoundPass is not the first diagnostic tool to emerge during the pandemic, though many of the other solutions have used wearable devices to track people’s symptoms. The RAIsonance offering has much lower equipment requirements, and could prove to be popular with organizations looking for a more affordable health screening solution.
August 18, 2021 – by Eric Weiss