Yahoo Wants You To Use Your Ear To Unlock Your Smartphone

Mobile phone safety worker hard hat © auremar Shutterstock

Yes, you heard that right…

Smartphone security could be about to get a lot more personal following the launch of a new system that uses body parts to unlock your device.

Yahoo has announced it is working on a method using scans of a user’s ear to unlock a smartphone, thanks to a new system called Bodyprint, developed by the company’s Yahoo Labs research and development facility.

Looking to provide a low-cost alternative to fingerprint scanners, which are often expensive, Bodyprint has also looked at using fists or even the way people grip their smartphone as alternative forms of biometric authentication.

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“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.

Touchscreen’s offer a much larger surface area for scanning, allowing the touch sensor to scan users’ body parts, such as ears, fingers, fists and palms by pressing them against the display, the team said.

Bodyprint has seen good results in initial testing, identifying body parts with 99.98 percent accuracy and users with 99.5 percent accuracy. Scanning ears achieved a 99.8 percent accuracy rate, according to the team.

The system would also offer greater privacy that current fingerprint scanning technology, and should also be harder for hackers to compromise. This follows recent findings from security firm FireEye which reported that hackers could take copies of fingerprints used to unlock the Samsung Galaxy S5 phone.

Recent findings have shown that British consumers are increasingly likely to support and use biometrics in their technology.

A study conducted by Visa Europe found that three-quarters of 16-24 year olds in the UK would feel comfortable using information such as fingerprint scans, facial recognition or retina scanning in place of traditional passcodes.

Overall, three-quarters (76 percent) of this age group said that they would feel comfortable making a payment using biometric security, with over two thirds (69 percent) believe this will make their lives faster and easier.

The technology could also be about to go mainstream following reports that Microsoft is looking to introduce forms of user authentication such as biometric scans for its upcoming release of Windows 10.

This is due to the company adding in support for the Fast Identity Online (Fido) standard, meaning that Windows 10 will be able to support third-party applications which enable password-free sign-on for a number of applications.

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