Heartbeat Biometrics (Bionym)

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 13, 2012

It is impossible to spoof a heartbeat: That's the claim of a new biometrics company that wants to use the signature of your heart pumping as personal identification. Is the idea quack science, or does it have promise? In this note, we examine Bionym's HeartID technology and contrast to other biometric methods.

HeartID

Bionym was founded as a spinoff from several research projects at the University of Toronto. Originally applied to battlefield medicine, Bionym's heartbeat detection technology uses electrocardiogram sensors to record heart rhythms. Like fingerprints, retinas, and palm print veins, no two heartbeats are the same and each have different characteristics.

Bionym describes HeartID technology as "a ground-breaking cardiac recognition system that can reliably recognize people from their ECG. The ECG can be captured from various points on the body, including the fingertips, making the system suitable to be embedded into a wide range of fixed and mobile devices."

Applications

Bionym does not have any end user products. Rather they are looking for OEM partners. The company is targeting access control vendors, since identity verification and access controls go hand-in-hand. While Bionym had no production examples of access control readers in the booth, the company claims that the material cost of adding the ECG technology to readers is less than $5 per device. We have no to evaluate this.

The company claims that authenticating heartbeats for readers, credentials, or portable electronics is low impact and high convenience: "The sensors can be positioned so that enrollment and authentication can be performed without the user having to perform any special task. They simply hold the device as they normally do, and the patented biometric recognition algorithm works seamlessly in the background to provide robust security and automatic personalization."

Additionally, they claim that it can be done even if the person is wearing gloves.

Limitations

A few limitations / concerns are likely:

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

  • The company says changes in heartbeat rate do not impact it. They showed that "tachycardia", or fast heart beat does not affect the signature of the beat, only the frequency. The company's website states "During physical or mental stress the heart rate increases. In this situation your cardiac rhythm contains more pulses than at rest. This provides HeartID with more information and will actually make identification more accurate."
  • Like fingerprinting, users must make contact with reader and this can be inconveniencing. However, the developer claims that, unlike fingerprints, neither the cleanliness or conditions of the fingers will have any impact.
  • The developer recommends re-recording the heartbeat template every 4 years. We have not heard of fingerprint developers with similar requirements.

Dual Authentication

Bionym's CEO suggested the technology could most easily be retrofitted into existing access applications through a change in credential. He suggested a yet-to-be design concept credential that would first require an authorized user to make valid through a heartbeat read, then could be used in normal proximity card fashion.

Potential

Fingerprint biometrics look to be the most likely competitor/alternative to this technology. While fingerprints are, by far, the most commonly used biometric in access control, they do suffer from some issues such as exclusions (worn fingerprints) or gummy bears (fingerprint), problems in cold weather and/or requiring removing of gloves.

We see potential for heartbeat biometrics but it will need to demonstrated that this can be done cost effectively and reliably, given the lack of track record for this approach.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Access Control

Ex-Integrator Now Growth Strategist Interviewed on Apr 24, 2019
For more than a decade, Scot MacTaggart was a security integrator (at PA-based PSX). In late 2018, he left the industry. He is now a Growth...
19 Facial Recognition Providers Profiled on Apr 23, 2019
IPVM interviewed 19 facial recognition providers at ISC West to understand their claimed accuracy, success and positioning. 9 from China, where...
ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
 Register for the Spring 2019 Access Control Course----Closed IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike...
Door Operators Access Control Tutorial on Apr 17, 2019
Doors equipped with door operators, specialty devices that automate opening and closing, tend to be quite complex. The mechanisms needed to...
Alarm.com Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 15, 2019
The once dot com startup has evolved to become a core provider for home security and is now expanding into commercial. In their first entry in...
ISC West 2019 Report on Apr 12, 2019
The IPVM team has finished at the Sands looking at what companies are offering and how they are changing their positioning. See below for 50+...
Spring 2019 50+ New Products Directory on Apr 08, 2019
We are compiling a list of new products for Spring 2019 and have over 50 already. Contrast to Fall 2018 New Products Directory and Spring 2018...
Startup GateKeeper Aims For Unified Physical / Logical Access Token on Apr 04, 2019
This startup's product claims to 'Kill the Password' you use to keep your computers safe.  They have already released their Gatekeeper Halberd...
Airship VMS Profile on Apr 03, 2019
Airship has been developing VMS software for over 10 years, however, with no outside investment, and minimal marketing, the company is not well...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Verkada Salesman: IPVM "Stuck In A The Stone Age" on Apr 25, 2019
Verkada is 'tackling dinosaurs' and battling those, like IPVM, who are 'stuck in a the stone age'. Verkada's recent sales recruiting promotion...
The HIVIDEO $31 Face Detection DVR Tested on Apr 25, 2019
Face detection in a $31 DVR? That is what "HIVIDEO" (not to be confused with Hikvision, even if the company intends to do that) was promoting at...
Amazon Marketing Pro Installs of Amazon Security Systems on Apr 25, 2019
Is Amazon a threat to conventional providers like ADT, Vivint and Brinks Home Security? Many say no. Now, Amazon is advertising free in-home...
Ex-Integrator Now Growth Strategist Interviewed on Apr 24, 2019
For more than a decade, Scot MacTaggart was a security integrator (at PA-based PSX). In late 2018, he left the industry. He is now a Growth...
19 Facial Recognition Providers Profiled on Apr 23, 2019
IPVM interviewed 19 facial recognition providers at ISC West to understand their claimed accuracy, success and positioning. 9 from China, where...
Locking Down Network Connections Guide on Apr 23, 2019
Accidents and inside attacks are risks when network connections are not locked down. Security and video surveillance systems should be protected...
Hikvision Admits USA Sales Falling on Apr 22, 2019
Hikvision, in a new Chinese financial filing, has admitted that its USA sales are now falling. Less than a year after the US government passed a...
Speco Ultra Intensifier Tested on Apr 22, 2019
While ISC West 2019 named Speco's Ultra Intensifier the best new "Video Surveillance Cameras IP", IPVM testing shows the camera suffers from...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact