At CES 2019, Motiv have announced that the Motiv Smart Ring will be getting a new feature this year, allowing it to use it’s inbuilt hear rate monitor to identify the wearer. This opens up a range of possibilities, the most interesting being the ability to make secure payments with the ring.
By combining NFC and this heart rate identity check, Motiv can offer secure payment capability.
It would work like this:
- Set up your biometric heart monitor settings (much in the same way you would set up FaceID or fingerprint unlock on your smart phone).
- At compatible contactless payment locations, hold your Motiv ring over the device.
- The ring will check the heart rate signature to identify that you are wearing the ring
- If it checks out, then the payment will be authorised.
Why is this important?
Using smart devices as payment vehicles represents a serious financial risk for consumers. Right now, if someone steals your bank card that has contact-less payment inbuilt (eg Paywave), they are able to use it to make purchases. Some banks and countries place limits on how much these contactless payments are allowed to be used for. This is called a “Floor Limit“. If the card is used for an amount above that limit, then a pin is usually required.
For example, the following floor limits are applied in these countries:
- Canada = $CA100
- Australia = $AUD100
- Euro = €25
- Hong Kong = no limit
- Japan = ¥20000
- UK = £30
- USA = No limit
Smart Phones that are connected to your bank account allow more security to be applied than a plain debit card.
For ApplePay and Google Pay, various security options can be used. With Apple, you need to have your finger on the fingerprint scanner, or be looking at your phone to use FaceID for payments.
With Google, mostly it just requires the phone to be unlocked. But this depends on the device.
With Motiv’s plan to use heart rate to identify the wearer, this introduces another very strong security option to provide peace of mind that your money is safe.
How does it actually work?
Motiv will be working on the assumption that everyone has a unique heart rate signature or pattern. By using electrocardiography (EKG) to measure your heart rate, they claim they can identify you.
This is not a new idea, authentication group Nymi have previously talked about using heart rate to identify people in this same way.
Everybody’s got a unique heartbeat. It’s based on the size and shape of your heart and the orientation of your valves, your physiology.Andrew D’Souza, President of Bionym (source)
We’ll keep you informed
This will obviously require significant testing, and it is unclear how far along Motiv are in terms of building this feature. However, it seems like a solid idea and means that smart rings could have their own biometric capability.
Motiv previously discussed using your walking signature (gait) to identify you, but it appears they have thrown their weight behind the heart, rather than the foot.
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Check out our review of the Motiv Smart Ring for more information and to determine if it’s right for you.