We've mentioned before that Nymi Band is on track for being a truly reliable device for biometric authentication.
The company behind the heart beat identification device is collaborating with MasterCard and Canada-based Toronto-Dominion Bank to bring biometric payment confirmation to consumers.
For the pilot of the payment program, the Nymi Band, which uses HeartID (electrocardiogram heartbeat recognition technology) to authenticate the user, is specially designed with NFC-capabilities. The prototype band is linked to the pilot participant's MasterCard account. The user is then able to purchase items at participating retail stores across Canada by holding the Nymi Band up to the tap and go terminal.
Nymi's VP of marketing and business development, Shawn Chance, told us that there are several other pilot programs planned for the US and Europe, covering a wide range of scenarios, with a focus on the enterprise space.
Studies on the ability for the Nymi Band to use a person's heartbeat as an identifier began about a decade ago. However, more than 40 years ago, researchers were able to confirm that a person's electrocardiogram (ECG) contains unique characteristics. "It wasn't until the Nymi Band that this actually became useful for authentication purposes," Chance explained.
If you are wondering how heartbeat identity can be more secure than fingerprint identity, think about how far fingerprint-lifting technology has come in the criminal investigation arena. You can practically get a good fingerprint copy with a piece of clear tape and some pencil lead shavings.
"Using your heartbeat has the advantage of being an internal biometric that cannot be seen with the naked eye, and is not left behind in any way," said Chance.
"Compared to something like a fingerprint, your heartbeat is very difficult to reproduce and is resistant to attacks like spoofing."
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Part of the reason the band is ultra secure is its continuous authentication mode. Similar to the way Apple Watch locks when you take it off your wrist, Nymi Band deactivates when removed from the wrist and cannot be accessed until it identifies the original user's ECG again.
The Nymi Band has been available for pre-order since September of 2013. However, the company is dedicated to ensuring that the device goes to market at the top of its game.
Developers can purchase a special version of the band designed for creating compatible apps. However, there is no official consumer release date.
"Nymi's current focus is on creating partnerships with innovative companies to grow the number of uses and applications for the Nymi Band," said Chance.
" [We] believe that our technology will find its best fit within the enterprise space first and foremost, as have many successful technologies such as the PC and Smartphone."