Researchers at CSIRO’s Data61 have developed a new technology that can be used to power wearable devices as well as a novel authentication method.
The technology combines gait recognition with a technique called kinetic energy harvesting (KEH) – which translates a person’s motion into electrical energy – to both power devices and accurately verify a person’s identity.
Data61 researcher Sara Khalifa said the new technology overcomes the limitations of the traditional techniques for capturing an individual’s gait which typically use mall sensors called accelerometers that reduce the battery life of wearable devices.
“By applying both techniques we have developed a way to achieve two goals at once – powering devices and the ability to verify a person’s identity using a wearable device by capturing the energy generated from the way they walk,” Ms Sara Khalifa said.
The research team has already trialled the technology to determine how secure KEH gait authentication is. The trial involved 20 users who were asked to walk in several different environments including indoor on carpet and outdoor on grass and asphalt terrains to capture the natural gait changes over time and surfaces.
The data which was subsequently collected from each user showed that KEH-Gait can achieve an authentication accuracy of 95% and reduce energy consumption by 78%, compared to conventional accelerometer-based authentication techniques.
The system was also tested against imposter attacks from people attempting to imitate an individual’s motions and the analysis found that only 13 out of 100 imposter trials were wrongfully accepted by the system as genuine trials.
Group Leader of the Networks Research Group at Data61 Professor Dali Kafaar said the KEH-Gait approach offers a multitude of benefits over passwords, pins, signatures and finger prints.
“Firstly, it is convenient because as we walk around each day our gait can be sampled continuously and verified without us having to manually adjust anything,” Professor Kafaar said.
“Secondly, it’s more secure than passwords because the way we walk is difficult to mimic. Since the KEH-gait keeps authenticating the user continuously, it collects a significant amount of information about our movements, making it difficult to imitate or hack unlike guessing passwords or pin codes.”