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Try To Hack This Password: Apple’s Heartbeat Sensor Patent

Everyday I am reminded how ridiculous technology is. According to a patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple is developing heartbeat sensors that can operate in conjunction with mobile devices like the iPhone. Whereas the sensor’s most obvious function would be to monitor heart rates, possibly for hospital patients or marathon runners, the Cupertino-based computer giant also claims in the application that a person’s heart rate could also be used in security procedures such as unlocking a phone or validating financial transactions. Whoa.

By placing the iPhone in a jacket pocket (rest easy, no surgical implanting involved here), the sensor will apparently be able to detect a heart’s unique electrical pattern, distinguishable by heart size, heart rate, and muscle strength. Supposedly, the pattern can then be matched to a pre-recorded beat, and authenticate one’s identity.

Another function Apple apparently is toying with is playing music that matches the heartbeat owner’s mood or physical activity: a Pandora.com for our hearts, if you will. At this rate, technology will be so incorporated with our bodies that we won’t even need to make choices anymore. That’s somewhat of a disturbing thought.

According to the patent:

“The heart sensor and processor can detect and process the user’s cardiac activity at any suitable time. The processor can receive and process heart activity when a user slides a finger across the display to unlock the device.

“In some embodiments the duration of particular portions of a user’s heart rhythm or the relative size of peaks of a user’s electrocardiogram can be processed and compared to a stored profile to authenticate a user of the device.”

(via Telegraph. title image via Institute of Health Sciences.)

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