When Your Cell Phone Can Recognize You

cellphone2b.jpgIn Finland, scientists are developing a cell phone that can recognize who you are by the way you walk. According to one article:

Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a prototype of a cell phone that uses motion sensors to record a user’s walking pattern of movement, or gait. The device then periodically checks to see that it is still in the possession of its legitimate owner, by measuring the current stride and comparing it against that stored in its memory.

If the phone suspects it has fallen into the wrong hands, it will prompt the user for a password if they attempt to make calls or access its memory.

As for accuracy:

Ailisto says, using the simple motion sensing gait method, the prototype phone correctly identified when it was being carried by someone other than its owner 98% of the time. It also only triggered accidentally, when it was with its rightful owner, 4% of the time.

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4 Responses

  1. meep says:

    Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk

    that my cell phone’s on and it’s time to talk.

    Ring tones loud and texting warm; I’ve been wireless

    since I was born…..

  2. Paul Gowder says:

    How interesting! I went looking for cell phone theft data for everyone’s favorite superhero, BayesMan, to use. No luck, but there is apparently an advocacy group on behalf of cell phone users. Assuming they’re legit, this is an encouraging sign in the privacy/monopolistic practices department.

  3. Eric Goldman says:

    It’s amazing what cellphones can learn about their owners. See Ryan Siegel, When Cell Phones Become Oracles, Wired News, July 25, 2005, at http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,68263,00.html . Eric.

  4. Bruce says:

    4% seems annoyingly high for a false negative rate. If it checks every hour, that’s once a day you have to key in your password.

    The technology reminds me of the signature-verifying technology for credit cards being worked on that doesn’t look at the image of your signature, but rather how you move the pen as you sign your name, which apparently is more reliable.