Bionym to Launch Wearable with Heartbeat Authentication
Nov. 6, 2014
Bionym, a Toronto-based technology company, will launch a pilot test of a wearable wristband linked to a MasterCard account that uses a wearer’s heart rhythms to authenticate contactless purchases. While other companies are working on the technology, Bionym said its Nymi Band, when the pilot begins before the end of 2014, will be the first wearable payment device using that biometric authentication method to reach the real-world testing stage.
When users first put on the Nymi Band, their electrocardiogram is captured by sensors on the wrist and a finger touch from the opposite hand on the top of the band. After the “biometric template” for a particular user is established, each time they put on the band, they touch the sensor for 3 to 5 seconds and are identified as the correct user by their unique ECG signature. Once a user has been validated, the authentication is persistent; that is, they remain authenticated until the band is removed, so no additional authentication factor (e.g., a password, PIN, signature, etc.) is necessary. At the POS, the band uses NFC to complete a transaction.
“Payments is a great use-case for persistent identity, because making the experience seamless for consumers is just as important as providing the trust and security that only you can authorize a payment with your account. This could be unlike any other next-generation payment mechanism.” Said Andrew D’Souza, president of Bionym. “We are excited to work to bring the world’s first biometrically authenticated wearable payment solution to market.”