One of the many promising developments with practical applications emerging from neuroscience is something called “brain wave biometrics.” Everyone’s brain produces a distinctive pattern of alpha-beta brain waves – something like a neural fingerprint. If we could record those brain wave patterns for a given person, we’d have a reliable way of identifying that person later on.
That’s the idea behind a new technology from researchers in Japan that could eventually replace conventional security measures for preventing car and airplane hijackings. Right now, identity authentication relies on getting it right one time – a fingerprint or eye scan, for example, is a one-time-only way of authenticating someone’s identity. If that one-time-only measure fails or is fooled, the authentication system is worthless; the person doing the fooling is “in” and there’s nothing stopping them.
But, if the authentication system continuously monitors the person’s identity instead of only checking it one time – then the game changes. That’s the edge brain wave biometrics offers.
Lead research engineer Isao Nakanishi, of the Graduate School of Engineering at Tottori University, explained to me by email, “The purpose of my research is to achieve continuous or on-demand authentication for users – whether an automobile driver or a pilot. Conventional one-time-only authentication based on a fingerprint or an iris scan cannot detect spoofing (i.e., fooling the system). Continuous authentication can prevent such spoofing.” …