In a world where cybersecurity concerns outweigh the threat of nuclear weapons, authentication technologies simultaneously present the greatest frontline challenge and opportunity. Fingerprint, facial recognition, and iris scan security breaches demonstrate the limits of some biometric systems. Whether the role is individual medical record protection or facility access control, complex biometrics may provide the needed authentication solution. Biometrics’ complexity and individuality hold great promise for security purposes, but image capture is the Achilles heel. We’ve written previously about biometric tech used for patient IDs such as Imprivata’s palm scans and wearable heartbeat scanning solutions from B-Secur and Bionym.

Arizona State University researcher Jae-sun Seo and his team take electrocardiogram data authentication a further step. The group developed a chip that continuously monitors heartbeat signals and uses them to generate random secret keys. According to Seo, the low power chip could be located on the back of a watch or integrated into other technology such as security systems and phones. The ASU team has verified the validity of the chip’s data protection capability with more than 600 people.

The ASU technology requires further testing and verification before use in actual products. The potential for electronic signatures generated in real time from multiple biometric signals may be the most secure method of all to protect and prove individual identity.