Future Authentication?Passwords, authentication tokens, biometrics – who needs those when brain waves from an EEG are both unique to the individual and un-fakeable? Well, perhaps Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise could come up with a scenario where EEG readings are at risk from “precogs,” but in the fact-not-fiction world, a study conducted at UC Berkeley was able to identify participants 99% of the time by brainwaves.

This is something we’ll see in practice next week or even next year, but the concept is there for future development. The current study used only 15 participants in a brief timeframe, and that isn’t sufficient to support the development of real world systems. There’s the additional issue of the cost of implementation. The test used a special headset with built-in EEG leads, making it potentially accessible to the general population. But technology like that doesn’t come cheap.

In short, brain waves are an innovative way to approach authentication, but a longitudinal study may be in order to examine the effectiveness as brain waves change over the lifespan. There are a host of issues this brings forth, but it’s exciting to see researches thinking outside the box for new ways to safeguard information.