Bionym Nymi Wristband Uses Wearer's Heartbeat To Authenticate Personal Tech

Bionym has announced the pre-order of its Nymi wristband, a small device that seeks to complement passwords and PINs as a personal authentication device. Falling solidly into the wearable technology category, Nymi works by using the wearer's heartbeat to determine identity, using that information to log into computers, unlock car doors, and more.

The idea behind the wristband is that things like passwords and PINs — while useful — can be acquired by those who aren't supposed to have them, guessed, or otherwise left vulnerable to unauthorized parties. A heartbeat, however, is not something another individual can easily spoof, and is just about as solid of a personal identifier as any one person can present.

The folks behind it envision many uses for the small band, among them being the ability to unlock a laptop lock screen, a car door, or to even issue payment at a cash register. To help ensure the safety of such a device, Bionym has implemented security methods to help keep the information private. Also tossed into the mix is gesture control, allowing for specific authentication actions to be performed using a gesture.

Of course, such usage requires companies to support the device, which Bionym says it is working on and will have established by the time the wristband ships in "early 2014." For now, the band is in the hands of developers, and can be pre-ordered by consumers for $79 USD.

Said Bionym CEO Karl Martin: "Every time you enter a password or even use a physical key or key card, you're having to take some sort of action to authenticate your identity. You have to do something, whether it takes a few seconds or several seconds. It's not just about replacing passwords or pins or keys. By putting authentication on the body, we're creating a nearly frictionless user experience for identity and how you use your identity."