I think I now have about 15 different passwords that I use on a regular basis.  One site wants 8 characters (one being a capital and one being a non-alphabetic character)....another wants no capitals and no numbers and another wants the combination of my first pet with the street that I grew up on. 




A Toronto-based company by the name of 
Bionym is hoping to change all that with their new product, the Nymi heart bracelet pictured to your left. (Read more in this recent Globe & Mail article) The idea is simple....everyone's heartbeat is unique and it can be identified in a manner that can be securely identified.  

Plus, unlike a fingerprint that can be digitally scanned (or, apparently scanned from a dead person....eww, gross), one would actually have to be present, and apparently alive, for this to work.

Why is this needed?

Well for starters, it seems passwords aren't secure enough anymore.  Just look at the recent news about several celebrities getting key Apple accounts hacked and one can easily see that a greater level of security is required.  Sure, they may have had easy to guess passwords, but if hackers are able to exploit loopholes that give them unlimited attempts to hack an account, they are probably going to break just about any password eventually.

Key applications

A few applications ranging from digital payment to accessing smartphones and PCs were listed, but I think it could go much further than that over time....

•   Since keys (and codes) can be copied/guessed, wouldn't this make the ideal method of accessing personal places (such as your car or your home)?

•   How about access to public transit, preventing others from using someone else's monthly pass?

•   Finally, maybe it can be used to keep minors out of places where they are not supposed to be, places like liquor stores and areas prone to vandalism.

Privacy?  Is there any left?

This brings up a good point.  At what point do we cross the line?  Do you embed an RFID chip in your head to check out faster at Costco?  What could be more personal than someone's heart beat?  For some reason, it also just feels kind of "icky" (that is a technical term) about using your pulse to buy a latte at Starbucks....maybe it is just me.

The Bottom Line

As an entrepreneur, I applaud any effort for someone to find a "hole" in the marketplace and develop technology to allow them and their shareholders to make money.  There definitely are some great benefits to using this technology....maybe they can find ways that don’t make my "pulse race" when I try to use it.  Hey wait, does a racing heart change the authentication?  If so, then maybe using it for bathroom access might be a bad idea...