How wearable biometric devices are changing individual identification

Updated 17 January 2015

How wearable biometric devices are changing individual identification

What exactly are “wearables” and why are they becoming so popular? Wearable biometric devices refer to electronic physiologic tracking technology incorporated into items of clothing and/or accessories that can read, record, and store individual biometric traits such as your heart rate, blood pressure, calorie intake, monitoring sleep, measuring steps, or charting any type of physical activity, and most wearables communicate data through wireless Wi-Fi or near field communication (NFC) technology. The future of individual identification in consumer based industries will be led by the integration of wearable technology with authentication and identification in both physical and virtual environments. Examples of potential wearable devices that could be included in this integration are smart watches, bands, ear-pods, jewelry, eyeglasses, contact lenses and clothing.
Many wearable devices now include biometric identification capabilities and have the potential to influence how we identify ourselves in the fields of health and medicine, fitness, education, transportation, finance, gaming, and music.
The burgeoning field of biometric identification uses physiological features such as fingerprints, finger vein and palm vein patterns, as well as iris and facial recognition to verify individual identities by comparing a live person’s biological credentials with a previously stored biometric template. Biometrics are used as a high level identification mechanism offering strong security in many government and commercial settings including border control, voter registration, public safety, workforce management, financial services, and more. There are many types of wearable biometric devices used in different industries in different scenarios, each of them playing a vital role to bring security and convenience to consumers. Here are some top wearable devices with biometric identification capabilities that are used in industries for various purposes:
Google Glass: Google Glass is a wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). This wearable device is compatible with voice and facial recognition and has the capability to perform individual identification. Google glass opened a new era of reliable identification methods for law enforcement agencies to identify criminals, banks to verify customers, and in health care for accurate patient identification.
The applications of Google Glass for identification are far reaching. For example, Dubai police will soon use Google Glass for field operation purposes with a custom-developed facial recognition software platform. Dubai police will now be able to capture photos of people around them and search their faces in a database of people wanted for crimes.
According to the Financial Times, a number of banks, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Ukraine’s PrivatBank, are developing so-called augmented reality apps to use with Google Glass to verify customers with added information about their physical surroundings in real time using voice and facial recognition.
Smart watches: ”Smart watches” are getting smarter, containing operating systems that can now perform multiple tasks such as calculations, translations, functioning as media player, making or answering phone calls, and a host of other functions that extend their utility far beyond keeping time. On the horizon are smart watches with biometric authentication capabilities that promise to accelerate their adoption for individual identification.
Samsung Electronics, together with global financial transaction service PayPal, is preparing to install a mobile payment function into smart watches by using a biometric identification sensor including fingerprint verification that will enable end users to quickly sign into PayPal and easily make secure mobile payments. This would increase the ability to simplify payment authentication on a device with limited space for a long PIN or password that will lead the retail industry to adopt wearable biometric devices for individual identification in payment systems.
Wristbands: Wristbands are very comfortable to use and now offer end users — biometric authentication capabilities using their heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature. These types of wristbands are capable of individual identification for different purposes such as health care for patient identification and monitoring, financial services for customer and employee identification, in retail for fast transactions, and for use in the ”Internet of Things” for virtual authentication. The Royal bank of Canada is trialing lower risk biometric banking payments using a wearable biometric wristband device for customer identification with the tap of a wrist at the point of sale.
Wearable biometric devices connected with smartphones or computers using wireless Bluetooth, WI-FI, or NFC bring a convenient way to identify individuals in different industries. Healthcare, banking/financial services, and the Internet of Things are examples of settings that stand to see huge benefits in different identification scenarios such as patient identification, mobile payments, banking transactions, employee identification, digital authentication, and more. Here are some key benefit of using wearables for individual identification:
Accurate Identification: Wearable biometric devices help perform accurate identification when speed and higher accuracy are needed. Industries such as health care, banking, and retail can benefit using this technology for convenient transactions and access control authentication.
Fast, Accurate Retail Payment Identification: Wearable biometric devices allow end users to quickly pay for point of sale and online goods and services. Payment services like AliPay, Apple Pay, and PayPal are planning to move from smart mobile devices to wearable devices to offer convenient, biometrically-authenticated payments.
Increase Productivity and Accountability in Workforce Management: Enterprises can use wearable biometric devices to identify employees for access control purposes, to record time and attendance, and automatically allow access to sensitive information. This can help businesses to increase productivity and accountability and implement secure access control systems.
Unique Security Features: Consumers are concerned about security when using mobile based payments. Wearable biometric devices provide unique and secure identification features that increases faith and trust among consumers to engage in mobile transactions.

Author bio: Arifin Hussain is the SEO Specialist with M2SYS Technology, an award-winning industry leader in biometric identity management technology.


“Punch in the gut” as scientists find micro plastic in Arctic ice

Chief Scientist for the Northwest Passage Project Dr. Brice Loose drills an ice core in the Arctic as part of an 18-day icebreaker expedition that took place in July and August 2019 in the Northwest Passage, in a still image taken from a handout video obtained by REUTERS on August 14, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 August 2019

“Punch in the gut” as scientists find micro plastic in Arctic ice

  • The researchers said the ice they sampled appeared to be at least a year old and had probably drifted into Lancaster Sound from more central regions of the Arctic

LONDON: Tiny pieces of plastic have been found in ice cores drilled in the Arctic by a US-led team of scientists, underscoring the threat the growing form of pollution now poses to marine life in even the remotest waters on the planet.
The researchers used a helicopter to land on ice floes and retrieve the samples during an 18-day icebreaker expedition through the Northwest Passage, the hazardous route linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
“We had spent weeks looking out at what looks so much like pristine white sea ice floating out on the ocean,” said Jacob Strock, a graduate student researcher at the University of Rhode Island, who conducted an initial onboard analysis of the cores.
“When we look at it up close and we see that it’s all very, very visibly contaminated when you look at it with the right tools — it felt a little bit like a punch in the gut,” Strock told Reuters by telephone.
Strock and his colleagues found the material trapped in ice taken from Lancaster Sound, an isolated stretch of water in the Canadian Arctic, which they had assumed might be relatively sheltered from drifting plastic pollution
The team drew 18 ice cores of up to two meters in length from four locations, and saw visible plastic beads and filaments of various shapes and sizes. The scientists said the findings reinforce the observation that micro plastic pollution appears to concentrate in ice relative to seawater.
“The plastic just jumped out in both its abundance and its scale,” said Brice Loose, an oceanographer at the University of Rhode Island and chief scientist of the expedition, known as the Northwest Passage Project.
The scientists’ dismay is reminiscent of the consternation felt by explorers who found plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean’s Marianas Trench, the deepest place on Earth, during submarine dives earlier this year.
The Northwest Passage Project is primarily focused on investigating the impact of manmade climate change on the Arctic, whose role as the planet’s cooling system is being compromised by the rapid vanishing of summer sea ice.
But the plastic fragments — known as micro plastic — also served to highlight how the waste problem has reached epidemic proportions. The United Nations estimates that 100 million tons of plastic have been dumped in the oceans to date.
The researchers said the ice they sampled appeared to be at least a year old and had probably drifted into Lancaster Sound from more central regions of the Arctic.
The team plans to subject the plastic they retrieved to further analysis to support a broader research effort to understand the damage plastic is doing to fish, seabirds and large ocean mammals such as whales.
Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation in the United States, the expedition in the Swedish icebreaker The Oden ran from July 18 to Aug. 4 and covered some 2,000 nautical miles.