the ECG could replace fingerprints in the future


It is now a fact, extremely clear especially to those who, like us and you, are passionate about technology; technology is evolving at an impressive rate and we can realize it even in our small way, without necessarily going too far in time, those of you born in the 80s are well aware of how many things have changed up to now in technological dress. There are always news of new projects, experiments and studies, all united by the main purpose of make people’s lives easier; the news that we bring you today is particularly interesting because you could see, in the future, the use of the ECG as a biometric identification tool.

According to a study carried out by Spanish and Iranian researchers, respectivelyUniversitad Carlos III de Madrid and of Shahid Rajae Teacher Training University, the heartbeat would be very similar to fingerprints from the point of view of identifying a person. Although biometric fingerprinting is now widespread in various areas, from the replacement and integration of passwords, to the processes required for issuing identity documents, it may not be applicable in certain contexts; for example on individuals afflicted by particular physical handicaps, or even in police contexts where various criminals provide for the abrasion of their fingerprints for the sole purpose of not being uniquely identifiable.

The detection of the heartbeat takes place, as usual, via ECG (electrocardiogram) which records the electrical impulses produced by the pulsations; these impulses are processed by a self-learning software equipped with an algorithm capable of analyzing the beat for dynamics, rhythm, timbre, pitch and tone, all properties usually used in the characterization of an audio file. This allows you to collect a series of unique parameters for each person, allowing identification with an accuracy of 96.6%; the Spanish researchers specify that:

The main novelty of our work is that we observe the ECG recording, which is a time signal, as if it were a sound wave. We analyze it using commonly used methods to characterize music.

Heart rate is a biological signal that is present in all people without exception. The decisive advantage is the inexpensive and non-invasive operation. There are nowadays smartwatch that record the ECG, so simply install an app that uses our identification algorithm.

The project is still in its initial phase and does not currently foresee any type of commercialization; one of the obstacles larger than the researchers are trying to stem is the fact that the heartbeat varies according to the circumstances: if the person is sitting, walking, running, tired or under stress, the heartbeat is different, so all these factors must be carefully considered before this technological innovation can spread into everyday life.

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