Eye movements make a foolproof identification system because they cannot be controlled by the user, or copied by others.Online security is fraught with holes — some three to eight percent of online transactions are thought to be fraudulent ones. With a dozen different passwords stored on your computer, the odds that one will get into the hands of the “bad guys” are really quite high.
This is the problem that the Israeli company ID-U Biometrics has decided to take on. It believes it has found a way to create a foolproof identification system that not even your spouse, twin sister or best friend could ever copy.
Unlike passwords, fingerprints, voice ID, or scanning your retinal markings, ID-U has found a novel way to create an identification platform based on the complex journey your eyes take when they watch a moving object. Using sophisticated algorithms, your web cam and a computer screen, ID-U has developed, in its words, a “fail-safe method” for identifying one person from the next.
The application is based on the fact that the eyes of each person exhibit their own characteristics when moving. Says Daphna Palti-Wasserman, an engineer, to ISRAEL21c: “The science in it is that the eye movement is a complex motion constructed from a number of parameters including anatomy, physiology, eye structure and chemistry.”
The subject’s response may be different each time they approach the system, but one thing stays constant: the patterns in which the eye responds. This movement cannot be controlled by the user, or copied by others says Palti-Wasserman.
As a result, ID-U is able to pick up on these patterns, and eliminate the possibility of forgery or spoofing. It provides an extra high level of security not found in other systems, she says.
The way the eye moves and responds to pseudo-random stimuli provided by the platform is even influenced by one’s personality traits, adds Palti-Wasserman, a PhD in biomedical engineering from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.
ID-U is set to make the trillion dollar online sales market safer through an emerging market known as “cyber identification.” It also has wider applications in the $9 billion biometrics market that targets airports, nuclear facilities and homeland security.
For starters, Palti-Wasserman is hoping to woo PayPal and eBay execs to use ID-U to help make online consumer transactions safer. Looking for an investor or strategic partners, the system could be ready in as little as a year, and if in place, Palti-Wasserman believes it would also encourage those afraid of online security to start buying online, thereby opening the online sales market even more.
The five-person company, founded in 2004, has resided within the Misgav Venture Accelerator since 2006. Corporate security, secure banking and healthcare are some possible future directions for the company.
And would-be identity thieves beware: “Eye tracking — it’s more impossible [to copy] than you think,” warns Palti-Wasserman.