Your brain could be your new password

Credit: Wiki Commons

Remembering multiple passwords can be a huge pain. And even though technology exists that can help you, most software solutions rely on their own passwords that, if forgotten, can lock you out of your information. What if you didn’t have to rely on those pesky letter-number combinations, though? What if you could just have something read your brain and use that instead? We're almost there.

Researchers from the UC Berkeley School of Information performed a study where brainwave signals of college students were examined as they were performing a set of repeatable tasks. Three tasks were the same across all students, but four tasks involved personal secrets. Those tasks with the personal secrets involved students focusing their thoughts on individual preferences like favorite songs and activities and such. All of the subjects' brainwaves were measured with a Bluetooth headset that records detailed Electroencephalographic (EEG) activity. Using software to analyze this activity, scientists discovered that their system could accurately match brain signals to the person who thought them 99% of the time.

Professor John Chuang, who lead the study, said: "We wanted to find out, can we accurately authenticate users based on user brain waves, and the answer is yes, we were pretty good at that." He even went as far to say that unique thoughts, using the personal secrets, weren't even strictly necessary for authentication. Just using individual brain wave patterns were enough to identify a person.

In the future, these unique brainwaves may be identified and then used as passwords, or more accurately, "passthoughts." Of course, scientists still are uncertain as to whether someone’s thoughts could be duplicated or if the system could be easily hacked. There are also studies yet to be done about how brain patterns change over time. According to Chuang, this method will probably not replace typed passwords on our computers in the very near future, considering the hardware that's required to make it work. However, with new wearable technology like Google Glass, passthoughts could still be useful for performing simpler brain-controlled tasks sometime soon.

Via Popular Science

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