As rumours get stronger on the appearance of an Apple "iWatch" we are getting used to the idea of wearing smart apparel loaded with sensors that can detect a variety of parameters about us and our life style.
Here comes the news from a paper I just read, written by researchers from Intel and Dartmouth college, explaining how biometric parameters can be extracted by a device, like a watch, worn on our wrist.
In simple words the band around the wrist is equipped with several electrodes that can send and receive electrical signals. Depending on the sending and receiving points the electrical current flows in different anatomical structure in the wrist that are specific, and unique, to each person. Hence by measuring the attenuation of the signal it is possibile to create a biometric signature of the wrist that can make identification of that person possibile.
A watch equipped with this system can be "initialised" to that wrist and from that moment on it will recognise the person wearing it. It may stop working if it is worn by a different person (a good antitheft system!).
More generally, this can be used as an identification device to authenticate a person withdrawing money from an ATM or buying groceries at a supermarket.
Wearable devices with embedded authentication capabilities will likely appear in the coming years and will become a seamless companion bridging our life with the cyberspace.