If typing a four digit code to unlock your phone is too much hassle, or your smartphone doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor, you may soon have more options. Yahoo has developed a way to unlock your phone using body parts such as your ear, palm, fingers, or knuckles.
Bodyprint can turn any regular touchscreen into a biometric scanner. This is then used to recognise the unique shape of a user's body part and unlock your device.
The technology was shown off at the 2015 Computer-Human Interaction Conference (CHI) in Seoul. A Bodyprint user unlocked his phone by pressing it to his ear; the process took less than a second. As you can see in the demonstration video, it’s also possible to fist bump your phone, or scan your fingerprints or palm.
The team said that this could be the solution to high-cost fingerprint scanners. “Due to their cost, capacitive fingerprint scanners have been limited to top-of-the-line phones, a result of the required resolution and quality of the sensor,” the team said on its website.
Bodyprint is most accurate when scanning the ear because of its more unique shape and size. But you have plenty of options to choose from. It’s also possible to store multiple body prints in a single phone if you share a device with someone.
Unfortunately, it’s not clear when the system will be made available to manufacturers. The team plans to improve recognition algorithms and conduct further testing.