It wasn’t that long ago we assumed the finger print reader on our smart device was 100% secure, after all, we have always been told that our finger prints are unique to us and can not be replicated to gain access to a secure device. It may very well be that each finger print is unique, however, as researchers at Michigan State University proved not that long ago it can be hacked using an inkjet printer and a little know how. Iris recognition has also appeared flawed when some twins were able to access their sibling’s secured devices with little more than a glare. All this meant that developers and engineers never really felt they had a full proof system as yet to offer their customers.

Now, currently in development in Japan, is a new form of biometric authentication, the ear biometric authentication no less. It’s not so much the shape or size of your ears that are used in this method but rather the echo it transmits when a short blast of sound is sent down your ear hole. The idea is you simply press the phone against your ear, as you would when about to make a call, and the phone sends a one second noise down the earpiece and into your ear and listens out for the echo produced. Due to the unique geometry of the ear, the sound that is echoed back is said to be specific to each individual. The technology takes several measurements of this echo, up to 10. aT the same time it also uses something called behavioural biometric, which is data derived from the action of lifting the phone to your ear. With these 2 sets of checks the software then gains or denies access to the device accordingly.

This all sounds very clever and anything that provides a more robust security to our devices, which these days hold most of our lives on, is a good thing. We just have to wait and see if smartphone manufacturers adopt this technology in the upcoming devices and more importantly if the army of hackers who wait excitedly for the next challenge are successful in hacking in to it, and if they do, it begs the question what are we going to use next as we are fast running out of body parts?