HID gets patent aimed at increasing security with hand motions

Hulusi ‘It’s the ultimate three-dimensional mouse'
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

IRVINE, Calif.—HID Global believes that waving your hand in a unique pattern will be another way to increase the security of a smartcard or smartphone used for access control in the future, and it announced July 9 several new patents for gesture-based methods of authentication.

The new patents cover technology that allows a user to "define a series of hand-motion sequences or gestures to be used to control operation of an RFID-based device" or an NFC-enabled smartphone.

"The gesture is basically another authentication step," Tam Hulusi, HID SVP of strategic innovation and intellecutual property, told Security Systems News. The gesture becomes the "ultimate three-dimensional mouse."

How would the technology be used with a card? 

For example, a user might "present the card to a reader, rotate the card 90 degrees to the right and then back to the original position to enable the card to be read." The technology will work particularly well when embedded in an NFC-enabled phone, Hulusi added.

This additional authentication step will increase speed, security and privacy.

The gesture-based passwords can be used to "unlock apps as well as to lock and unlock a door, similar to the way a mechanical key is used to lock and unlock a door. Additionally, it can allow the user to secretly signal that he is using his card or phone to gain access, but is under duress," the company statement explained.

"If you add a gesture to a wireless connection, it gives you a lot of control over how you interact with a wireless sensor," Hulusi said.

This technology feeds into the notion of "duality," something HID has been talking about for a while, where the "smart card or smartphone you have in your pocket is more powerful than the reader on the other side of the door."

This kind of technology, while unique, is relatively simple, and Hulusi expects to see it in practice in the near future.