HiTech Terms: What is up with Apple Watch Authentication and Biometrics?


I was enjoying a cup of Java at Starbucks.  I looked over at my daughter and said:  Look at that guy.  We use to think it was weird when people appeared to be talking to themselves and in actuality they were using a blue tooth in their ear.  We have all kind-a got use to that.  Now this.  The guy was talking to his wrist band Apple watch.  Can you say Star Trek!  I guess we will get use to that, too.


But check this out- Apple watch has a brilliant authentication feature.


Authentication is the means the way devices and software know and recognize users.  An example is the pin number or password on your phone.  If you enter the right password- pin, the phone unlocks and you can use it.  If not, you may be able to make an emergency call, but that is about it. 



CNET is reporting that there is a mobile app that taps into Apple watch’s ability to sense who is wearing the watch.  This ability to sense is promoted as a way to comply with HIPAA.  http://www.cnet.com/news/health-care-app-uses-apple-watch-to-id-doctors-follow-privacy-law/


A mobile app is a computer program designed to run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_app


This way of sensing is referred to as biometrics.


Biometrics refers to metrics related to human characteristics. Biometrics authentication [or realistic authentication]is used in computer science as a form of identification and access control.  It is also used to identify individuals in groups that are under surveillance.

Biometric identifiers are the distinctive, measurable characteristics used to label and describe individuals. Biometric identifiers are often categorized as physiological versus behavioral characteristics.  Physiological characteristics are related to the shape of the body. Examples include, but are not limited to fingerprint, palm veins, face recognition, DNA, palm print, hand geometry, iris recognition, retina and odour/scent. Behavioral characteristics are related to the pattern of behavior of a person, including but not limited to typing rhythm, gait, and voice.  Some researchers have coined the term behaviometrics to describe the latter class of biometrics.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biometrics


Sadly, Star Trek’s Spock was not able to see the Apple watch in his lifetime!  However, Spock was not the first to talk to a watch on his wrist.  In reviewing this post, my editor sent me a picture of Dick Tracey listening to voice coming from his watch.  Truly a piece of sci-fi coming to reality!


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