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New technology will turn your phone's display into a biometric scanner

Bodyprint, a new technology developed by a team from Yahoo Labs, can turn your smartphone's touchscreen display into a biometric scanner with the ability to recognize ears, fists, palms and more.

Published onApril 24, 2015


We should all be familiar with biometric scanners in smartphones by now. While sometimes it can ultimately work against us, biometric recognition is making its way into the mainstream, offering an easy way to gain access to our mobile devices. So far, we’ve only really seen fingerprint recognition as the main form of biometric security on today’s smartphones, but that may change sometime (relatively) soon.

A team of researchers from Yahoo Labs have created a new technology called ‘Bodyprint’ that turns your smartphone’s touchscreen display into a biometric scanner. Since mobile devices’ touchscreens have lower input resolutions compared to those found in the iPhone 6 or Galaxy S6’s home buttons, Bodyprint requires you to scan a different part of your body, whether that be your ear, fist, five fingers or palm.


In the video shown below, Bodyprint is being used to verify the user before answering a phone call with ear recognition. Obviously, much like using traditional fingerprint sensors, Bodyprint has the potential to be used in many more applications throughout the mobile OS.

This new tech was demoed at the 2015 Computer-Human Interaction Conference (CHI) in Seoul, South Korea not too long ago. During a small test composed of 12 people, Bodyprint correctly identified both owners and their body parts 99.98% of the time. While that’s an impressive feat, the research team knows they have a lot of work to do before this technology will make its way to our mobile devices.

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