I don't know about you but I have been waiting for a long time for some sort of biometric device to help with passwords.  According to the latest rumors, the new iPhone 5S coming out on September 10 might well have a fingerprint scanner.  That's just for the smartphone.  What about everything else? 

The Nymi, a high tech  wristband from the Toronto based Bionym might well replace passwords and physical keys! The biometric bracelet works by monitoring the wearer's cardiac rhythm with its electrocardiogram sensor.  The wave pattern, called a PQRST, is unique to each person because the pattern is determined by the size of the heart, its shape and its position in the body. PQRST patterns are much more difficult to replicate unlike fingerprints (lifted off anything you touch) or facial parameters (photographs). It's not likely to change either when you exercise (the wave frequency increases not the pattern) or as you age.

PQRST pattern
The data which authenticates the wearer is then transmitted via blue tooth to a registered Nymi device.  The wristband also contains a a gyroscope and accelerometer which allows for gestures while unlocking.

The 3-factor security system depends on the possession of the Nymi wristband, the unique heartbeat and an "authorized authentication device". The Nymi's inventors have also made sure they used hardware based cryptography as they are well aware of weaknesses in the blue tooth standard.

Just look at the video and see all the wide ranging ways this wearable tech device can make our lives easier.

How close is this technology? They have released the API and will be working closely with other developers.  Karl Martin, the CEO and co-founder says "At launch, in the beginning of 2014, it will support built in device unlocking capabilities, and be supported by a range of third party apps".   

It remains to be seen if the wristband will catch on.  Given the struggle so many of us have with password management and too many keys, the offer of doing away with both passwords and keys is attractive.

Early adopters can pre-order the wristband for $79.

Update (November 2014) : The Nymi is now being tested with Mastercard and the Royal Bank of Canada. The trial runs till February 2015.

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