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Soon, replace your passwords with your thoughts

By measuring brain-waves with bio-sensor technology, researchers are able to replace passwords with "passthoughts"

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

You may be spared from typing pesky passwords in the future!

Instead of typing your password, you may only have to think about it, thanks to a new wireless headset device developed by researchers.

Remembering passwords for all your sites can get annoying. There are only so many punctuation, number substitutes and uppercase variations you can recall, and writing them down for all to find is hardly an option.

Researchers at the University of California Berkeley School of Information developed the device that explores the feasibility of brainwave-based computer authentication as a substitute for passwords.

By measuring brain-waves with bio-sensor technology, researchers are able to replace passwords with "passthoughts" for computer authentication, website 'Mashable' reported.

A $100 headset wirelessly connects to a computer via Bluetooth, and the device's sensor rests against the user's forehead, providing a electroencephalogram (EEG) signal from the brain.

The NeuroSky Mindset looks just like any other Bluetooth set and is more user-friendly, researchers said.

Brainwaves are also unique to each individual, so even if someone knew your passthought, their emitted EEG signals would be different.

"Other than the EEG sensor, the headset is indistinguishable from a conventional Bluetooth headset for use with mobile phones, music players, and other computing devices," according to the researchers.

Participants, in a series of tests, completed seven different mental tasks with the device, including imagining their finger moving up and down and choosing a personalised secret, the report said.

Simple actions like focusing on breathing or on a thought for ten seconds resulted in successful authentication.

"We find that brainwave signals, even those collected using low-cost non-intrusive EEG sensors in everyday settings, can be used to authenticate users with high degrees of accuracy," the researchers concluded.

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First Published: Wed, April 10 2013. 15:34 IST
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