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Eye-Tracking Could Outshine Passwords If Made User-Friendly

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A representation of eye-tracking.

A new biometric authentication technique identifies users based on the movement of their eyes.


University of Washington researchers have developed a biometric authentication technique that identifies users based on their eye movements.

"This is the beginning of looking at biometric authentication as a socio-technical system, where not only does it require that it be efficient and accurate, but also something that people trust, accept, and don’t get frustrated with," says Washington professor Cecilia Aragon.

The researchers put subjects through several types of authentication, and then asked for feedback on the technology's usability and perceived security. The study used an ATM-lookalike computer screen with eye-tracking technology. The subjects were presented with three types of authentication, including a standard four-number PIN, a target-based game that tracks a person's gaze, and a reading exercise that follows how a user's eyes move past each word.

Most of the study subjects said they did not trust the standard PIN system, and most of the subjects assumed that the more advanced technologies would offer the best security. However, during one trial the researchers deliberately caused the eye-tracking system to fail, and the users lost faith in the new technology.

The researchers now plan to look at developing similar eye-tracking authentication for other systems that use basic cameras, such as desktop computers.

From UW Today
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