Biometric scanning for facility access and computer login isn’t new. Iris scans, fingerprint readers, and more have featured in films and real-world applications for decades. We previously wrote about  Imprivata‘s patient ID system that uses infra-red scans of the patient’s palm. Last month we covered B-Secur‘s concept of using algorithms for secure biometric identification based on individually unique heartbeats.

Researchers from the University of Buffalo computer science and engineering department have gone further with heartbeat scanning and developed a heart print for biometric security. The UB technology is the subject of a paper to be presented in Utah at MobiCom in mid-October, Cardiac Scan: A Non-contact and Continuous Heart-based User Authentication System. Wenyao Xu, an assistant professor at Buffalo, suggests continuous heart print scanning is safer than Wi-Fi and emits less than 1% of the radiation from a smartphone. The non-contact, continuous scanning technology is based on Doppler radar. The UB system can ensure the correct person is at a workstation after logging on. Iris, palm, and fingerprint scans, for example, can log someone in, but if that person wanders off without logging off, unauthorized users could jump on the system.

Because the technology is non-contact, users would not have even to log in. A user could just walk up to a location or computer system. While the person is getting settled, the wireless scanning technology could grant access in about 8 seconds. EKG identification has been in use for about a decade, according to Xu, but the UB wireless system is the first non-contact remote device that characterizes heart geometry for identification purposes.