The research by Palani Ramaswamy’s team was to
investigate if brain’s electrical activity (known as
electroencephalogram, EEG) could be used as a biometric tool, i.e.
in the authentication of an individual’s identity. For example, the
most recent study published in International Journal of Cognitive
Biometrics explored the possibility of generating passwords and
personal identification numbers (PIN) by using thoughts instead of
the standard input mechanisms like keypad entry.
The advantage of this method is obvious, as,
it is less prone to fraud such as shoulder surfing (where one peeks
over the shoulder to get the password or PIN) since it will be
impossible to perceive the thoughts of another person in such
cases. It can be used in any authentication scenarios like in ATM
machines, logging in to computers and authorising bank’s financial
transactions (in place of card reader technology).
Palani says “The technology works by recording
EEG signals while the user is visualising alphanumeric characters
popping on screen. The reaction of the brain will be different when
the alphanumeric characters contained in the specific password or
PIN are shown and the changes are detected through advanced signal
analysis algorithms developed for the work. Since only the changes
in brain patterns are recorded, such technology will be more robust
"At the moment, the only issue preventing the
technology from being applied is the use of wet, gel based
electrodes to record the EEG data. However, dry electrodes are
already being designed and the user will just need to wear a cap or
headgear of some sort and get authenticated using their
For further information, please contact Palani
on: 01902 323875.
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