Yahoo Labs has introduced Bodyprint, a new biometrics technology that could one day allow users to unlock a smartphone using a scan of their ear instead of a fingerprint or password.
In addition to scanning a user's ear, Bodyprint was able to identify fingers, palms, knuckles and fists, so devices could be locked and unlocked. Even though touchscreen input resolution is fairly low, using the surface area of the screen allows body parts to be accurately matched 99.98 percent of the time.
The use of biometric fingerprint scanners designed to authenticate users can be found in higher-end smartphones, but the technology is still relatively expensive - due to a high-end sensor and required resolution to make them function well.
"Bodyprint recognizes users by their ears with 99.8 percent precision with a false rejection rate of only 1 out of 13," researchers wrote. "This demonstrates the viability of biometric user identification using the touchscreen in commodity devices and shows that Bodyprint provides secure and convenient biometric authentication on commodity mobile phones."