Japanese tech company develops method to identify users by their ears

Japanese electronics giant NEC has developed a new biometric method that allows users to login with the shape of their ear. According to NEC the method has a greater than 99% accuracy. The new technology takes less than a second to measure acoustic characteristics determined by the shape of the ear which are unique for each person.


To measure these characteristics, the method uses an earphone with a built-in microphone. This collects earphone-generated sounds as they resonate within ear cavities.


NEC states the biggest benefits of the technology is that it can continuously authenticate an user because it does not require particular actions such as scanning a part of the body over an authentication device. Simply wearing an earphone with built-in microphone is sufficient.

The company plans to commercialize the technology in a wide range of applications, including the prevention of identity fraud in operations related to safety and security, such as in maintenance, management, and security of critical infrastructure, in ensuring confidentiality of wireless communications and telephone calls, and in voice guidance services designed for particular individuals or particular scenarios. It should become available somewhere next year.