Biometrics are big news this year, whether they’re built into our smartphones, or part of cutting edge new wearable tech. The Nymi falls into the latter category, and it’s a wrist band which will replace your usually less-than-secure passwords with something far harder to replicate or crack: Your heart beat. More specifically, it uses your cardio rhythm, or ECG, pattern – which is unique to you – to verify your identity.
It works like this. The Nymi must be linked with your smartphone using Bluetooth LE at the beginning of each day, a process which is only performed once, and because the clasp closes an electrical circuit, it stops working and forgets everything when it’s removed. By touching a finger on the top-mounted receptor, it’ll record your heart beat.
The wrist band, your heart beat, and the device to which its connected all work together to confirm your identity, without the need for a password. If one part changes, the chain is broken. The Nymi doesn’t store information online either, it’s all based on a direct link between the three elements.
According to Bionym, the company producing the Nymi, the wrist band isn’t only about replacing your awkward passwords. Its built-in proximity sensor and gesture control system means it could be used for unlocking your car or house door, or completing payments with a linked credit card. A software development kit means developers have the opportunity to build Nymi into their own creations too.
Nymi was demonstrated at SXSW recently, where a Next Web reporter saw its potential for a personalized shopping experience, after a tap of the Nymi at a bar saw his preferred drink mixed up and served to him by name, all without any other interaction. It can also provide notifications for email, SMS, and social networking updates.
Using biometrics to step up security was one of the main trends at Mobile World Congress this year, and the Nymi is similar to the Sonavation AxisKey. Instead of your heart beat, the AxisKey uses ultrasound technology to map your fingerprint, and will soon map the tissue and veins under the skin, creating a highly secure mode of identification.
Bionym has the Nymi up for pre-order right now, at a special introductory price of $80 for the first 25,000 orders. After this, the price will increase to $100. The aim is to ship the Nymi in mid 2014.