Amidst the robotic and audio visual glitz and glamor of the Showstoppers event for International CES, I soon became enthralled with the subject of biometrics. With no suggested denial of the coolness factor involved with the leaps and bounds that have occurred in both video screen and speaker technology, security and privacy control (that actually works) is something certainly worth investigating. And when it comes to functional digital based security, everything seems to revolve around biometrics.
The first display of biometrics I looked into was the HoyosIDTM mobile application from Hoyos Labs. It is an application that can be installed on a smart phone that provides biometric facial recognition without the need for any additional hardware or software to be purchased. The application is also free, according to the press release, and seemed to function very easily and efficiently when demonstrated for me by a representative from Hoyos. Basically, you log into the application, aim your phone at yourself like you were going to a capture a self-portrait with your cellular camera, and after your face is verified you are logged into all of the typical accounts you would use in your online day. I was also informed by a representative that the application can determine if the user is actually alive and looking at the camera, which would prevent someone from using a photograph of you to hack into your online accounts through HoyosIDTM and obviously they did not have a cadaver present to fully test that proposal, but that claim has been vetted previously and does ring true according to all accounts.
From their International CES press release: “One hindrance to the widespread adoption of biometrics to date is that people are hesitant to carry around another token to confirm their identities – it’s just one more thing to lose,” said Hector Hoyos, CEO of Hoyos Labs. “At Hoyos Labs, we understand that the solution isn’t in the hardware itself. This is why we focused on creating a technology that will work with mobile devices – the HoyosID app – as most people are already carrying their phones everywhere that they travel.”
Another use of biometrics that really peaked my interest was from Vapor Corporation and their implementation of an industry first biometric electronic vapor cigarette. Personally being a user of vapor technology to keep me away from the combustible form of smoking that gets more expensive with each raise of the sin tax, and also damages incurred from anti-smoking legislation, I was keen on understanding what is next for the world of vapor cigarettes. The answer to this question presented at the International CES is biometric fingerprint locking technology.
Although there have not been definitive long term studies confirming the possible negative side effects of inhaling nicotine infused electronic cigarette vapor in an adult, what is of definite concern is preventing children and providing parental controls over an electronic vaporizing unit. As the representative explained to me, the biometrics will only recognize the authentic user of the vapor pen through a fingerprint scanner and if not authenticated will not function properly or dispense nicotine vapor. This can also be useful for medicinal marijuana patients who have a specialized solution in their vapor pen that would be illegal for others to consume. It will also render the device useless in the event of theft, so that could possibly be an inherent deterrent. The prototype they had on display functioned perfectly but it is still obviously in the full development stages because the main biometric chipset was exposed, which will assumedly not be visible in the finished product.
Under any assessment, practical application of biometrics is the wave of the future and is always a common thread in science fiction lore and movies. Now it is becoming more of a reality than ever before, and I am guessing this week I will experience even more of what biometrics is capable of in other International CES shows.
Written by Michael Blain