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Sniffing Your Identity With Breath Biometrics

Sniffing Your Identity With Breath Biometrics

tech innovation 2022

Odor-based personal authentication of breath using an artificial olfactory sensor may be possible in the near future as demonstrated by this artist’s rendering. credit: Kyushu University/Yanagida Lab

Biometric authentication such as fingerprints and iris scans are a core part of any spy film, and trying to circumvent those security measures is often a main plot point. But these days the technology isn’t limited to spies, as fingerprint verification and facial recognition are now common features on many of our phones.

Now, researchers have developed a new potentially odoriferous alternative to the biometric security toolkit: your breath. In a report published in chemical communicationResearchers at Kyushu University’s Institute for Materials Chemistry and Engineering, in collaboration with the University of Tokyo, have developed an olfactory sensor that is able to analyze and identify compounds in the breath of individuals.

This “artificial nose”, built with a 16-channel sensor array, combined with machine learning, was able to authenticate 20 individuals with an average accuracy of over 97%.

In this age of information and technology, biometric authentication is an important way to protect valuable assets. From fingerprints, palm prints, the usual suspects of voice and face to less common alternatives to ear acoustics and finger nerves, there are a variety of biometrics that machines can use to identify you.

“These techniques depend on each individual’s physical specificity, but they are not foolproof. Physical characteristics can be mimicked, or even compromised by injury,” explains Chayanut Jirayupat, first author of the study. “Recently, human odor is emerging as a new class of biometric authentication, essentially using your unique chemical composition to confirm who you are.”

Image of an artificial olfactory sensor used for breath-based biometric authentication. The sensor is made up of a 4×4 channel array for a total of 16 sensors. Each sensor detects a specific class of compounds found in human breath. The data is then processed by a neural network, which then determines the person. credit: Kyushu University/Yanagida Lab

One such target is percutaneous gas—compounds made by your skin. However, these methods have their limitations as the skin does not generate sufficiently high concentrations of volatile compounds for machines to detect.

So, the team turned to see if human breath could be used instead.

“Concentrations of volatile compounds from the skin can be as low as several parts-per-billion or trillion, while exhaled compounds can go up to parts-per-million,” Jirayupat continues. “In fact, human breath has already been used to identify whether a person has cancer, diabetes, and even COVID-19.”

The team began by analyzing the subjects’ breath to see which compounds could be used for biometric authentication. A total of 28 compounds were found to be viable options.

Based on this, they developed an olfactory sensor array with 16 channels that could each identify a specific class of compounds. The sensor data was then passed to a machine learning system to analyze the composition of each person’s breath and develop a profile used to differentiate an individual.

Sniffing Your Identity With Breath Biometrics

Subjects begin by breathing into a collection bag. The bag is then attached to an olfactory sensor, which analyzes compounds found in the person’s breath. Based on the concentration of the compounds, the machine learning system identifies the individual. credit: Kyushu University/Yanagida Lab

Testing the system with breath samples from six people, the researchers found that it could identify individuals with an average accuracy of 97.8%. This high level of accuracy was maintained even when the sample size was increased to 20 people.

“This was a diverse group of individuals of varying ages, genders and nationalities. It is encouraging to see such high accuracy across the board,” explains Takeshi Yanagida, who led the study.

Nonetheless, he admits that more work needs to be done before you move on to your next smartphone.

“In this work, we required our subjects to fast for six hours before the test,” concluded Yanagida. “We’ve developed a good foundation. The next step will be to refine this technology to work regardless of diet. Thankfully, our current study showed that adding more sensors and collecting more data can help overcome this obstacle.” can be overcome.”


‘E-nose’ sniffs out mixture of volatile organic compounds


more information:
Chaiyanut Jirayupat et al, Odor-based personal authentication of breath by artificial olfactory sensor system and machine learning, chemical communication (2022). DOI: 10.1039/d1cc06384g

Provided by Kyushu University

Citation: Sniffing Your Identity With Sansa Biometrics (2022, 22 June) Retrieved 22 June 2022

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