Psychologists and engineers at Binghamton University in New York have hit a milestone in the quest to use the unassailable inner workings of your brain as a form of biometric identification. They came up with an electroencephalograph system that proved 100 percent accurate at identifying individuals by the way their brains responded to a series of images.
“It's a big deal going from 97 to 100 percent because we imagine the applications for this technology being for high-security situations,” says Sarah Laszlo, assistant professor of psychology at Binghamton who led the research with electrical engineering professor Zhanpeng Jin.
Ref: CEREBRE: A Novel Method for Very High Accuracy Event-Related Potential Biometric Identification. IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security (17 March 2016) | DOI:10.1109/TIFS.2016.2543524
The vast majority of existing work on brain biometrics has been conducted on the ongoing electroencephalogram. Here, we argue that the averaged event-related potential (ERP) may provide the potential for more accurate biometric identification, as its elicitation allows for some control over the cognitive state of the user to be obtained through the design of the challenge protocol. We describe the Cognitive Event-RElated Biometric REcognition (CEREBRE) protocol, an ERP biometric protocol designed to elicit individually unique responses from multiple functional brain systems (e.g., the primary visual, facial recognition, and gustatory/appetitive systems). Results indicate that there are multiple configurations of data collected with the CEREBRE protocol that all allow 100% identification accuracy in a pool of 50 users. We take this result as the evidence that ERP biometrics are a feasible method of user identification and worthy of further research.