How can ear print unlock your phone?

How can ear print unlock your phone?

Is it really possible to unlock your smartphone using your ears instead your fingers? One day it will be made possible since Yahoo Labs has a project called Bodyprint – it is an authentication system that has an objective to turn a smartphone capacitive touchscreen into a biometric scanner. This particular system allows users to unlock their smartphones using not just fingerprints but also other body parts such as human ear.

According to the Yahoo Labs team, “While the input resolution of a touchscreen is about 6 dpi, the surface area is larger, allowing the touch sensor to scan users’ body parts, such as ears, fingers, fists, and palms by pressing them against the display,” that’s what they wrote on the project’s web page.

Christian Holz of Yahoo Team also noted that “From email to texts, phonebook entries, and pictures, your phone has lots of personal information that’s potentially accessible to prying eyes. Passcodes are effective but sometimes tedious. Fingerprint scanners are a convenient way to secure handsets, but they are pricey and often limited to high-end handsets.”

How can a capacitive touchscreen that has too low resolution could capture the fine line of a fingerprint? It can’t though but it can capture larger body prints like the shape of the user’s ear. That is what Bodyprint is all about, each users speaking of humans have unique ear shape the uniqueness’ of it will be scanned by the phone say when a phone rang and its user answered the call, if the phone recognizes that you are the owner it unlocks automatically.

In line with these the Yahoo Lab team wrote, “Bodyprint compensates for the low input resolution with an increased false rejection rate, but does not compromise on authentication precision.” It added that “In our evaluation with 12 participants, Bodyprint classified body parts with 99.98 percent accuracy and identifies users with 99.52 percent accuracy, with a false rejection rate of 26.82 percent accuracy to prevent false positives.”


There are different aspects of body prints where the system have been tested that includes:

  • the ear print
  • the print of the user’s knuckles and fingers when they press a fist to the screen
  • the shape created when the user curls their fingers and presses their intermediate phalanges to the screen
  • the shape of the user’s palm on the screen
  • the shape made by the users fingers as they grip the phone around the back

The mobile devices tracks and process gestures through a two-dimensional location mapping. On the other it is through images of the touch patterns on the screen that the prints were obtained for this system [Bodyprint]. After the images have been obtained it underwent analysis that is how it is processed and the results?

The Yahoo team Lab said that the results were precise, “Scanning users’ ears for identification, Bodyprint achieves 99.8 percent authentication precision with a false-rejection rate of 1 out of 13, thereby bringing reliable biometric user authentication to a vast number of commodity devices.”

Since this technology could only recognize Bodyprint in form of the ear’s unique shape yet that doesn’t mean that this particular technology will not improve, in consonance with this the Yahoo Lab team said “In the case that future touchscreens support higher input resolutions, up to a point where they may detect the fine structure of fingerprints, Bodyprint will readily incorporate the higher level of detail of sensor data, which will not only extend our approach to further body parts, but likely reduce false rejection rates at the same high levels of authentication precision.”

The current state of Bodyprint is in the works. What’s next for Bodyprint? It will be the improvement of recognition algorithms, once developed it will be ready and capable to be tested on a wider range. In the meantime it is still an experimental system.


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