The term “biometrics” is often broadly associated with fingerprint scanning on smartphones, or retina scanners for security clearance in areas with otherwise restricted access. Like fingerprints and retinas, the inner ear and the sound it generates are also unique to each human.

When sound enters your ear, it creates acoustics. The sounds that reverberate are different for everyone, offering an interesting means of identity authentication. NEC, a tech company based in Irving, TX, says that it’s currently working to create this technology. Sound would need to go through special earphones with a built-in microphone in order to initiate an audio snippet. Once you hear the received signal, the microphone will pick up your acoustic sound as it returns to the microphone. Any outside noise will be filtered out and within seconds, the earbuds will have identified you.

While touch and ocular technology both work great for authentication, there are certain scenarios where using the ear is optimal. Instead of answering numerous security questions on the phone with banking institutions, you can use this technology through the headphones. It can also be useful for private business calls that require speaking about confidential information.  According to the company, this technology should be ready for commercial use in 2018.

Written by IEEE on May 2, 2016