Forget Fingerprints: EyeLock Myris Brings Eye Scanning to Devices
Fingerprint scanning is all the rage ever since Apple put it at everyone’s fingertips in the iPhone 5S, but one company has an arguably better take on biometric security. EyeLock is a company that develops iris scanners for security checkpoints, and now it’s putting that tech into a consumer device.
The myris is computer mouse-size device that scans your eye. You plug it into the USB port on your computer, tablet or some other device. Pick it up, flip it over, look at it, and the sensor will immediately scan your eye to verify your identity.
Why would you ever want to do that? Because your iris is the ultimate master password: While a fingerprint has a one in 10,000 chance of resulting in a false positive, according to EyeLock, with an iris it’s more like one in 1.5 million. Verify with two eyes (not an option for Nick Fury or the Governor, we admit), and the chance of error goes down to one in 2.25 trillion.
“Iris, as a human part of the body, is second only to DNA in terms of its ability to authenticate someone with certainty,” says Anthony Antolino, chief marketing officer for EyeLock. “No two people on the planet have the same iris texture. Not even identical twins.”
Once your eye has been scanned and recorded, EyeLock’s software acts as a password manager. When it’s time to log in somewhere, you can just look at the scanner, and the software will use your iris to unlock the password of whatever service you’re trying to access. The myris is compatible with Windows PCs, Macs and even Chromebooks. It supports up to five different users.
“You really have the ability to have a friction-free, touchless, very high secure, very high convenient method of protecting your identity,” says Antolino. “The world we live in is a digital environment. We’re reliant on these devices as vessels to everything that we do — our laptops, our smartphones, our tablets. And everything we do requires an authenticator.”
Of course, things would be extremely bad if the tiny file that contains your iris scan ever fell into the wrong hands, but EyeLock says the system is designed to ensure that the files can’t be used to “hack” a person’s eye-dentity. Not only do the files never leave the device, but the scanners themselves simply aren’t designed to receive data from a file rather than a live scan. So even if a hypothetical hacker got your scan, they couldn’t do anything with it.
So what about the unthinkable hack — removing someone’s eye and using it to impersonate them, à la Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man? That won’t work either, Antolino says, since EyeLock’s tech can immediately tell if the eye scanned is alive or dead, just as the iPhone’s fingerprint scanner can tell a severed finger from a live one.
EyeLock plans to release myris later this year to both consumers and enterprise customers. No price has been set.