Have a Little Heart: Now It’s Your ID

by Tim Sloane 0

This articlein CNBC discusses wearable technology called Nymi that utilizes a individual’sheartbeat as an identifier:

“Thecompany has developed a wearable device called the Nymi that reads a user’selectrocardiogram, or heart rhythm, for identification. Because a person’sheart rhythm is unique, just like a person’s fingerprint, the wrist band canact as a key of sorts, allowing to use it to authenticate their identity in avariety of situations.

‘Soit authenticates your identity, and once it knows who you are you can use itfor things like unlocking your devices, bypassing passwords and pins, includingmaking payments,’ said Karl Martin, Bionym’s CEO and co-founder.”

The company that makes Nymi, Bionym, indicates that Nymi nowenables payments based on a pilot with MasterCard and RBC:

“Bionymrecently partnered with MasterCard and RBC for a pilot trial slated to launch earlynext year that use the Nymi band to verify NFC payments with the tap of awrist.

Whilepaying with a smartphone often requires a PIN number or fingerprintauthentication, the Nymi band enables a wearer to make a payment by wearing theband because the identity is tied to the cardiac rhythm of the user, whichmakes the payment process seamless, Martin said.”

Not surprisingly Nymi expects availability of “persistenttrust” will have an impact beyond payments:

“‘The key thing we are offering here is this concept of persistent trust. Theidea that if you are paying with your phone, you are still having to dosomething to prove who you are, whether it be with a fingerprint or a PIN. Bywearing something, it can persistently know who you are, and interactions likepayments or unlocking your devices can become completely seamless. So it’sreally this concept of persistence, and this technology of using your cardiorhythm allows us to do that,’ Martin said.”

While this sounds great, one wonders when the locks in myhouse and car will be designed to support different types of “persistent trust”devices since there are already several on the market using differentmethodologies. It would also be interestingto know how Nymi addresses a heart beat that suddenly changes dramaticallyeither due to illness or medications. For example in a quick search for drugs that have a side effect thatincludes irregular heartbeats the first few returned included Atenolol,Lanoxinand Adderall.


Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation for Mercator Advisory Group

See full story at CNBC