Apple Patent Reveals Heart Sensor Based User Authentication Mechanism
Apple has filed a patent application that could take biometric sensor based user authentication mechanisms to an entirely new level. The application titled "Seamlessly Embedded Heart Rate Monitor" was filed with the USPTO in January of last year though it has been made public only this week.
According to the patent, the deployment of a heart sensor on electronic devices like the iPhone that could detect the user's cardiac activity and authenticate based on the cardiac electrical signals received.
The patent application notes:
"The electronic device can include a heart sensor having several leads for detecting a user's cardiac signals. The leads can be coupled to interior surfaces of the electronic device housing to hide the sensor from view, such that electrical signals generated by the user can be transmitted from the user's skin through the electronic device housing to the leads…Using the detected signals, the electronic device can identify or authenticate the user and perform an operation based on the identity of the user."
Interestingly, user authentication is not the only area where Apple sees use for such a feature. The patent application also notes that the heart sensor shall be able to study the mood of the user depending on the transmitted signals and subsequently trigger associated actions. The application explains this with an example of a workout session where the sensor shall study the user's cardiac activity and play media files that shall motivate the user to train harder or calm down depending on the heart beats detected per minute.
The invention however appears to primarily focus on simplifying the current biometric authentication process on electronic systems. Unlike sensors based on fingerprint, iris or voice recognition, the heart sensor based biometric sensor does not require the user to provide any sort of input. Instead, the user's iDevice shall be able to recognize its owner the moment the user picks the device up.
It should be noted that this is merely a patent application at this stage that may never see the light of the day. However, Apple has always been known to surprise us with innovative features and we wonder if this technology shall be made available in future iPhone models.
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