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Apple just patented a way to identify you based on your veins

This is either really creepy or really cool. Maybe both.


Mike Wehner


Posted on Oct 14, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 7:26 pm CDT

If the fingerprint sensors, iris scanners, and voice detection embedded into modern smartphones just aren’t futuristic enough for you, Apple‘s next biometric leap might be just what you’re looking for: A recent patent publication shows Apple’s plans to identify you based on the arrangement of the veins in your body. 

The patent, which is called “User Identification System Based On Plethysmography,” was filed in late 2013 and published this week. Its premise is not unlike that of a wrist-worn heart rate sensor like the one already built into the Apple Watch. Essentially, it’s a light that illuminates a wearer’s skin, and then measures the amount of light that is absorbed or returned, using that data in the same way Apple’s Touch ID uses fingerprint data. 

Everyone’s body is slightly different, and a biometric data point like the one described in the patent could very well be used as sort of “body password,” that would ensure a wearable like the Apple Watch only worked for its owner. 

Such a feature could potentially cut down on theft, just as a passcode or Touch ID make it much less appealing to steal a secured smartphone. But the big difference here is that, if equipped with a vasculature biometric feature like the one in the patent, an Apple Watch could literally refuse to function whatsoever for anyone who isn’t the rightful wearer. That’s a level of security that even the most advanced smartphones struggle to provide. 

H/T Apple Insider

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*First Published: Oct 14, 2016, 1:46 pm CDT