Forget fingerprints, you can pay with your heartbeat

Posted By : Nat Bowers
Forget fingerprints, you can pay with your heartbeat

Since the advent of biometric authentication, a myriad of devices have been introduced in an attempt to replace traditional cash and cards, including fingerprint and iris scanners. Now there is a new method available using heartbeats. The Nymi Band is a secure, wearable authenticator that increases convenience and security through continuous, biometrically authenticated, proximity-based access control.

Nymi's proprietary authentication algorithm leverages a user's ElectroCardioGram (ECG) as a secure biometric identifier. The Nymi Band's ECG recognition algorithms observe the shape of the ECG waveform, extracting unique and consistent features that are a result of your physiology. When worn and activated, it communicates a secure, digital identity credential via BLE to your enabled devices. Using the band's continuity circuit, the device will remain in an authenticated state until it is removed from a user's wrist. This enables strong biometric authentication to be deployed to any application, location or device as a form of payment, running on any mobile, laptop, desktop or cloud platform.

The core of the Nymi Band contains a secure hardware element to keep communications safe, an accelerometer and gyroscope for gesture recognition and a haptic feedback motor for notifications. The Nymi Band's LEDs communicate battery-level, connectivity and other important states. The Nymi Band is made of high quality hypo-allergenic materials (ISO 10993 compliant) along with an IPX7 water resistance rating.

The band will work even if the user has an irregular or faster than average heartbeat. When the Nymi Band authenticates, it’s looking at the shape of the ECG wave, not heart rate. It is tolerant to typical variations in heart rate even if users have an irregular ECG as a result of a medical condition.

Since being released to developers last year, Nymi has teamed with Mastercard and RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) to trial a prototype Nymi Band tied to a MasterCard credit card for payment. This pilot will put everyone involved at the forefront of innovative payment technology as Nymi pioneer the world’s first biometrically authenticated wearable payment solution.

Karl Martin, CEO, Nymi, commented: “What’s out there already is the tap-and-pay, which has no authentication. So in the case of contactless payments where somebody else uses your card, the onus is on you to notice that your card is gone and then deactivate it. What we’re trying to do is build a higher level of trust, so that in the long term you can reduce fees and make contactless payment a more trusted transaction. Compared to what’s out there today, we’re certainly offering a higher level of security or trust.”

This payment pilot will build off existing standards for contactless payment and creates extensions on users existing cards. That means that it will automatically work with all retailers that support contactless payments today.

For more information, see the spec sheet below or visit the Nymi Band website.


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