Unlock Your Phone with Just a Breath: IIT's Groundbreaking Tech

Explore the future of biometrics as IIT Madras researchers develop a unique system to identify individuals based on their breathing patterns, promising a revolution in smartphone unlocking and medical diagnostics.

Unlock Your Phone with Just a Breath: IIT's Groundbreaking Tech

Tuesday January 30, 2024,

2 min Read

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have been working on a fascinating new way to identify people: by using the patterns of their breath. This idea could change how we unlock our phones and access secure places.

The key to this technology lies in the way we breathe out. Every person has a unique way of exhaling air, which creates specific turbulence patterns. The IIT Madras team, led by Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, has developed a method to capture these unique patterns and use them as a biometric signature, similar to how fingerprints are used today.

They conducted tests with breath samples from 94 people and found that their system could correctly confirm the person's identity with an impressive accuracy of 97%. However, when it came to identifying someone without knowing who they were beforehand, the accuracy was around 50%. This means the technology is great at confirming if someone is who they claim to be, but it still needs improvement in recognising people without any prior information.

What makes this research exciting is its potential beyond just unlocking phones. It could play a significant role in personalised medicine. Since the way we breathe can give insights into our health, this technology could help doctors tailor treatments to individual patients more effectively.

In a similar study at Kyushu University in Japan, researchers developed an "artificial nose" system that identifies people based on how their breath smells. This system showed a high accuracy rate of 97.8% in identifying individuals. However, this method currently requires people to fast for six hours before testing, indicating that it still needs to be refined to be more practical for everyday use.

These advancements in using human breath for identification are not just about adding another cool feature to our smartphones. They represent a significant step forward in biometric technology, which could have far-reaching implications in security, medicine, and personal technology.

This research at IIT Madras and Kyushu University is pioneering a new way of using the unique patterns of our breath for identification purposes, potentially revolutionising how we interact with technology and receive medical care