Computers and smartphones equipped with fingerprint readers are commonplace. Facial and voice recognition are old hat. Functional iris scanners on new phones lie just around the corner. Biometric security technology using fingerprints, faces, voice, and iris patterns may be more secure than passwords, but they share a common weakness; they can be spoofed. Because the aforementioned biometrics are external, they can be copied, or so argues B-Secur, a Belfast, Ireland-based firm. The company has a new idea for secure biometric identification based on individually unique heartbeats.

B-Secur focuses on electrocardiograph (ECG) signal research, hardware, and software development. The company’s technology strategy builds on their strengths to develop and deliver a suite of solutions in ECG sensing, biometric algorithms, security, and integration. In addition to obvious financial, access control, and vehicle access and control security applications, B-Secur targets ECG wearables for their health and wellness potential. With continuous ECG monitoring, for example, B-Secur envisions future applications in machinery and vehicle operation safety. The company states its algorithms work with various conductive materials including metals, fabrics, and inks and in different locations on the body, such as wrist, chest, or fingers.

If employers monitor workers’ heartbeats, there’s an obvious potential for concerns about privacy. With B-Secur’s algorithms, someone else could detect drowsiness, drunkenness, anxiety, stress, or even health conditions. Beyond privacy issues and barring the potential for third party heartbeat spoofing, however, B-Secur’s wide application plans could help fund further technology development.