March 31, 2015
Samsung is apparently working on a Biosignal ID technology for their Gear smartwatch, as reported by Patently Apple. The smartphone giant wants to have its smartwatch be able to make payments in the future. Here is an illustration from Samsung’s new patent application which provides more insights on how the biosignal authentication system would work.
Source: Patently Apple
If Samsung comes up with such a biometrics enabled smartwatch, it would probably include a sensor that would be configured to detect a biosignal. The biosignal would be generated in response to a gesture made by the user. As highlighted in the illustration, the watch would also include an alternative sensor to detect another biosignal. The watch would further include a memory area specially designed to store the information related to the biosignals. The processing unit would have the job of comparing the newly generated signals with the stored information in order to authenticate the user.
Further patent details reveal that the two biosignals that are being referred to may be an EMG (electromyogram) and an ECG/EKG (electrocardiogram). The stored biosignal information may be encoded for further security.
Samsung might be incorporating a technology that we have witnessed before in Bionym’s Nymi wearable armband. This particular smartband uses your unique ECG (electrocardiogram) biometric signature to securely identify you to various services and devices. Bionym also provides Nymi users with an easy-to-use and secure Bitcoin wallet. This wearable Bitcoin wallet enables consumers to make payments using the most secure digital payment method, without having to use your phone, tablet or computer. Nymi is tied directly to an individual’s ECG biometric signature, which means that if it is lost, nobody can access your funds.
Samsung has already announced Samsung Pay to compete with Apple Pay on the smartphone front. Now it seems that it's planning to do the same in the smartwatch arena as well.
Speaking of smartwatches making payments, these two companies also have another competitor to worry about. Technology giant LG has come out with a new and improved smartwatch that can not only connect to LTE networks but also perform mobile payments without the need of a smartphone connection. The NFC chip in the watch enables it to perform mobile payments without pairing with a smartphone. The new smartwatch model is called Watch Urbane LTE and runs on the Android Wear platform.