New remote sensors, personal gadgets for fun… or future biometrics tracking?

This summer, after some 18 months of waiting, the famous Leapmotion 3D controller has finally arrived. For those not aware of this device, this is a small USB gadget you plug into your PC or MAC, which contains IR and two sensors which allow a generation of a virtual 3D sphere, of approximately 60 cm in diameter, above the device. This sphere is designed to recognize the hand’s and most importantly fingers’ gestures.

Is this the future of remote controlling? Well, maybe. Anyway, it’s a good start, as the device works pretty well! From my own limited experience using it, it requires a strong behavior change compared to our  habits today with so-called “natural” extensions of a laptop or a PC: a mouse and a keyboard (especially the mouse!).

While with “Leap” I’m definitely missing something (it’s difficult to put my finger on it) to claim I’m totally taken by this device; maybe, the upcoming MYO could please me more (it should be available in 2014). With MYO, which is an armband, the gesture detection will be done by an integrated gyroscope and sensors understanding the movement of muscles (especially those of fingers and hands). This will bring up completely different use cases than “Leap” and I look forward to discovering the reality of gesture detection precision when I get to lay my hands on this device. In any case, MYO sounds promising!

Last but not least, another upcoming device for gesture/remote control is Emotiv. This time it is a neuro-captor, paired up with a “neuro-helmet” for the head which contains a gyroscope. It will react to some brain stimulations and transcode them into commands. Another tool to check out once available, to better understand its “wow” features and capabilities.

You may ask why I’m talking about all these fancy gadgets in a cyber security column??? Well, if you recall from some of the security courses in your curriculum, the biometric authentication systems are the most effective and accurate tools for verification of identity, which is achieved by analysis of the unique personal attributes or behaviors. Biometrics use sophisticated technologies which entail :


Hand topography

Facial scan

Hand geometry

Palm scan

Voice print

Keystroke dynamics

Signature dynamics

Iris scan, and

Retina scan.

Got the point?? Could it be the case that one day a hand gesture, a muscle movement, or an impulse in the brain become a new biometric medium for identification or authentication? With the arrival of these small “personal” devices, we will certainly see more research and development of applications in this direction.

With that, I leave you with a thought – Can these new gadgets be really fun? … and secure?

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