Smartphones That Sense You By Touch

Mobile phones to get touchy-feely.


Forget the overly-expensive iPhone 5S with its fingerprint sensor, scientists have figured out a way for your smartphone to know you by touch alone.

The software, SilentSense, made by US-based scientist Cheng Bo and his colleagues at the Illinois Institute of Technology demonstrates how the software can identify smartphone owners by the way they tap or swipe across the touchscreen, with up to 99 percent accuracy.

How does it do that?
SilentSense uses your smartphone’s existing accelerometer and gyroscope to measure your movements and identify whether it is truly you using the phone. What SilentSense looks for is pressure patterns, touch duration, fingertip size, position, etc to determine who is using the phone.

But what is the use of that?
One word — Security. But can't an unauthorised user get important info out before the phone understands? Apparently, SilentSense can correctly identify in 10 taps or less with 99 percent accuracy while averaging just 2.3 taps with 98 percent accuracy.

But my battery life sucks
The software is intelligent enough to stop checking user's identity when apps and games are used. But it automatically switches on whenever more sensitive applications such as email, SMS, etc are being used.

The developments are certainly interesting, though we wonder how it will perform when the user is sick, or perhaps uses his movements differently such as keeping the phone on the table while tapping. To read more about it, see the journal entry here.

TAGS: Mobile Phones