This Bluetooth wrist band replaces passwords with your heart beat

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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Computing

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.
Computing

Best free parental control software for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android

The internet can be a dangerous place, especially for your loved ones. Check out our selection of the best free parental control software for Windows and Mac OS X, so you can monitor your child and block unsavory sites.
Mobile

Google to end support for Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich

Anyone with an old phone that is still running Android 4.0 may want to look into upgrading their phone, as Google has announced that it will be ending support for this older version of Android.
Mobile

Amazon knocks $30 off its Paperwhite ebook reader in limited-time deal

Amazon is running a couple of limited-time deals for its Paperwhite ebook reader. One offers a $30 discount, while the other throws in a pair of headphones and a free, extended Audible trial.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.
Mobile

New Galaxy S10 leaks showcase display sizes, confirm headphone jack return

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 -- will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

LG G7 owners experiencing dreaded bootloop will have to wait a few days for fix

If you’ve picked up LG’s flagship and it’s not behaving itself, then you might find a solution here. We’ve rounded up the most common LG G7 ThinQ problems and tracked down workarounds and possible fixes.
Mobile

A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.
Mobile

Honor to out-megapixel the competition with 48MP camera on upcoming View 20

After its phenomenal success with the View 10 in 2018, it looks like Honor is getting ready up the ante with its forthcoming Honor View 20. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Mobile

Xiaomi is preparing to set records with 48-megapixel phone camera

Bigger doesn't always mean better, but it certainly makes headlines. Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is set to release a phone camera with a staggeringly large 48 megapixels on a single sensor.
Apple

Patent highlights Apple's sky-high ambitions for AirPower wireless charger

At its September event last year, Apple unveiled the AirPower -- its new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.