By measuring brainwaves with biosensor technology, researchers are able to replace passwords with “passthoughts” for computer authentication. A $100 headset wirelessly connects to a computer via Bluetooth, and the device’s sensor rests against the user’s forehead, providing a electroencephalogram (EEG) signal from the brain.
Other biometric authentication systems use fingerprint or retina scans for security, but they’re often expensive and require extensive equipment. The NeuroSky Mindset looks just like any other Bluetooth set and is more user-friendly, researchers say. Brainwaves are also unique to each individual, so even if someone knew your passthought, their emitted EEG signals would be different.
In a series of tests, participants completed seven different mental tasks with the device, including imagining their finger moving up and down and choosing a personalized secret. Simple actions like focusing on breathing or on a thought for ten seconds resulted in successful authentication.
The key to passthoughts, researchers found, is finding a mental task that users won’t mind repeating on a daily basis. Most participants found it difficult to imagine performing an action from their favorite sport because it was unnatural to imagine movement without using their muscles. More preferable passthoughts were those where subjects had to count objects of a specific color or imagine singing a song.
The idea of mind-reading is pretty convenient, but if the devices aren’t accessible people will refuse to use it no matter how accurate the system, researchers explain.
Would you replace your passwords with passthoughts? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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