Mobile phones will soon be able to recognize their owners by the way they walk, say scientists.
Finnish researchers unveiled a security sensor which responds to a person's movements, it would disable equipment if it sensed the person using it was not the owner, helping to cut crime by preventing unauthorized use of portable devices such as laptops and mobile phones.
The inventors say the system could also be adapted for credit cards in the future so it could verify a user's identity based on their physical movements before approval of payment transactions.
Heikki Ailisto, a professor at VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland, said the principal advantage was that it provided an effective identification method but did not require the user to perform a specific task like entering a password.
"It is better in the sense it is unobtrusive and implicit - people are lazy about using passwords, fingerprint sensors, anything which requires explicit action," reports Scotsman.
During trials, phones containing the sensor identified its rightful owner 98 per cent of the time. However, about 4 per cent of the time it mistook its owner for someone else. One restriction the sensor has is that it gives the best results when it is close to a person's body and not in a bag.
Also, when a person's gait changes due to leg injury, drunkenness, or wearing new or different type of shoes, the sensor might not recognize the owner. “You would need to either turn it off before you start drinking or make sure you remember your password. The performance is not as good as fingerprint, but about equal with real-world speaker recognition systems,” Ailisto said.
Now, the development team is scouting for companies that want to incorporate the sensor into their devices. VTT refused to reveal the names of the companies it is looking at for exploiting the technology commercially, informs Earth Times.