The Nymi by Bionym
Pat Salber, MD, MBA, Host of The Doctor Weighs In & Co-Founder of Health Innovation Media
Pat Salber, MD, MBA, Host of The Doctor Weighs In & Co-Founder of Health Innovation Media

Geez louise.  It’s 2014.  This is the TechnoGizmo Age. There must be something better than passwords.

Passwords.  Ugh!  I have had many passwords over the years.  Why?   Because I forget them.  Then, I have to reset them.  When I reset my password, I have to think up a new one because most sites nowadays won’t let you reuse any of your old ones.  Not only that, but some sites have more complicated password rules than others (e.g., “must be 10 characters and include a capital letter as well as a number and a symbol” vs “8 characters with at least one number”).  So, I have my complicated financial institution passwords, my simpler general access passwords, and I even have some sites that let me use my very old passwords that are permanently emblazoned in my memory.

We aren’t supposed to write our passwords down, right?  So you forget – or at least, I forget.  You can use a password keeper or, like me, a password protected Excel spreadsheet (hope I don’t forget that password). Or you can use something so obvious – like your birthdate – that even your grandkids can hack your sites.

Bionym has a better way

Geez louise.  It’s 2014.  This is the TechnoGizmo Age. There must be something better than passwords. And, there is…or at least there soon will be if Bionym has its way.  They have developed a device, called the Nymi, that uses your EKG as your password.  Only being a doc and not an Personal Identification scientist, I was a bit flummoxed when I first heard that your EKG is so unique that it can be used to securely identify you as you.  But it turns out that EKGs are as unique as your fingerprints and better than your face when it comes to personal identification.  Retinal scans are a bit better, but it is pretty inconvenient to have to place your retina in front of a device everytime you want to gain access to something.  Here’s a link if you want to dive into the science of EKGs as personal identifiers.

The Nymi by Bionym
The Nymi by Bionym

The Nymi is a bracelet with electronics embedded in it that can detect your EKG.  It is compared to a previously recorded version of your EKG that is stored (encrypted) in an Authorized Authentication Device (AAD), such as a smartphone or other device registered with the Nymi app.  Once you are authenticated as yourself, as long as you have the Nymi bracelet on, your identity is automatically confirmed.  You don’t have to continually reaffirm it.

Watch the video to learn more

I had a chance to spend some time with Karl Martin, PhD who is Founder and CEO of Bionym at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January (#CES14).  Check out this video interview to learn more about the Nymi:

And here is another video if you would like to see how Bionym thinks the Nymi will change personal authentication in the near future:

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