Bionym’s heartbeat authentication may be the key to smartwatch mobile payments

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On January 28, 2015
Last modified:December 2, 2014


5 542436fb1de7c8.51938368The wearable device developer, and Bionym, vialis 40mg is currently trying to make it so wearable devices can authenticate mobile payments by detecting the person’s heartbeat. This will be done through a near field communication chip, seek or NFC chip, that goes inside the Nymi wristband developed by Bionym. Once a person wears the band, it will detect their heartbeat through the wrist. This is similar to how people check for a pulse by putting their fingers on the back of a person’s wrist. The band will detect the pulse in a similar way, but it will be used for identification purposes during a credit card transaction. The series of heartbeats that the wristband picks up is called an electrocardiogram. It detects the rhythm of the wearer’s heartbeats, which are unique to only that individual. Then there are another set of sensors in the band that detects if the same person is still wearing it. Once the band is taken off, the electrocardiogram goes blank and requires the person to place it around their wrist again in order to make payments.


The future of mobile payments will be more advanced than swiping a credit card through a Smartphone slot or terminal. Imagine a world where people are all wearing wristbands and just paying for things by taping their wrist against the register. You won’t have to slide your card anywhere or enter in a pin number either. In fact, you don’t have to use your hands at all to make a purchase. The heartbeat detected in the wristband will authenticate you as the owner of your bank account, and will process all payments for you. That way if somebody takes your wristband and tries to use it, then they won’t be able to because their electrocardiogram is different.

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The only thing that will bring this to the mainstream is if more companies invest in the technology. There have been discussions with Apple about implementing the electrocardiogram technology into their existing devices, since they already have the NFC chips for Apple Pay. But, no concrete deals have been made yet and it doesn’t look like there will be any with Apple. However, it seems that Bionym may be more interested in putting the electrocardiogram technology inside of Android devices instead. Bionym has raised $14 million in funding for this device by popular companies such as MasterCard, Relay Ventures, Ignition Partners and Salesforce Ventures. If this technology gets perfected it may change the way people conduct business in local and mobile storefronts forever.


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