Two weeks ago, rumors surfaced out of Korea that this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas would herald the release of a number of LG products that incorporate biometrics and mobility. Most notably amongst the speculated technology was the company’s upcoming flagship smartphone – the G3 – which is expected to feature an embedded fingerprint swipe sensor.
As of the writing of this article, there has been no biometric smartphone reveal from LG, but the two other biometric technologies rumored to make an appearance have been unveiled: the LG Lifeband Touch and LG Heart Rate Earphones. Both of the new technologies are wearable and designed to interface with smartphones that run either Android or iOS.
As the name implies, the Lifeband Touch comes in the form of a wristband – sort of a health-monitoring smartwatch. It features a touch OLED panel to display time, incoming calls, music controls and most importantly biometrics. On its own, the Lifeband measures motion based biometrics, which have been identified as some of the invisible biometric factors in terms of potential security applications. When used in conjunction with a smartphone and the Heart Rate Earphones via bluetooth, the Lifeband becomes an interface panel for your body’s vital stats.
The real neat functionality comes in the biometric earphones that feature PerformTek sensors that measure blood flow signals in the auricle (the external part of the ear). Through this method, the Heart Rate Earphones don’t just measure the eponymous biometric, but also produce a measurement for maximal oxygen consumption. As with the Lifeband, the Heart Rate Earphones are Bluetooth capable and doesn’t just interface with the smartwatch, but also phones with appropriate fitness apps.
Naturally, the three piece combination of the Lifeband, the Earphones and a properly equipped smartphone are ideal for fitness. This is what they were designed for and has been one of the main consumer applications of biometrics for a very long time. As mentioned above, however, the application of vital biometrics does stretch beyond the realm of healthy and active living.
With LG’s new wearable gadgets a number of passive security applications immediately jump to mind. The first is proximity verification: if a piece of wearable technology is synced with a smartphone via bluetooth, it is a simple jump to require the presence of said wearables to be necessary for logical access. More advanced is the application of the vital biometrics that are being measured for the purposed of access control. In the same way that experts believe that the M7 motion sensor in the iPhone 5S has the potential to passively measure walking gait and add security factors or deny access when an anomaly is detected, a user outfitted with technology that knows her resting heart rate can sync her phone’s security to her circulatory system.
This of course goes beyond the applications of what LG’s newly revealed technology was designed for, but in a technological landscape that is looking to adopt better-than-password security down every possible avenue, these slightly extrapolated possibilities are worth consideration.