Capacitive Fingerprinting Brings You and Your Gadgets Closer

October 15, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Getting recognized by other people might seem like a good feeling. But how would it feel if your phone or tablet or washing machine recognizes you?

Well, the time is not far off before you find out, because that’s the kind of technology that’s been developed now. Chris Harrison from Carnegie Mellon University, Munehiko Sato from University of Tokyo and Ivan Poupyrev from Disney Research are involved in developing a recognition technology that doesn’t need any passwords or retinal scans or extra accessories like a glove.

Disney’s multi-touch houseplants were the first indication of the birth of such a technology. Researchers have now turned the tables to human hands.

If you touch an object or a display on any gadget, the Capacitive Fingerprinting technique of the device would charge up electrical frequencies through your body. The impedance, which is a result of the interaction between those frequencies and the biochemical makeup of your body, is analyzed and the gadget can then recognize you as well as those around you who have touched the display.

This ID technology is really sensitive and determines the state of your body as it changes over the hours. “It is not that it is too sensitive, but that the condition and electrical properties of the human body change with time and location,” explained Poupyrev.

He said that they are currently looking to use it for short-term interactions like those in games or in location-based entertainment. With such sensitivity, it would be difficult for Capacitive Fingerprinting to function as a long-term password keeper.

But in the event of a board game involving about four players, the technology would work perfectly to keep track of the players. Capacitive Fingerprinting, in a fully-fledged form could serve in many fields; like doors and windows could be programmed to open for the owners without the need for keys.

“A physical, inanimate object can ‘feel’ who is touching. So, it is kind of magical,” says Pouprev.

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