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The Bioacoustic Signatures of Our Bodies Can Reveal Our Identities

A new technique to identify individuals using sound is nearly as accurate as fingerprints and iris scans

2 min read
Image of hand and metrics
Photo of bioacoustics identity authentication system
Photo: Joo Yong Sim/ETRI

Every sound we hear has a unique signature thanks to the way it was created and which objects the sound waves have passed through. A team of South Korean researchers are now exploring whether the unique bioacoustic signatures created as sound waves pass through humans can be used to identify individuals. Their work, described in a study published 4 October in IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, suggests this technique can identify a person with 97 percent accuracy.

The biometric system developed by the group at Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) uses a transducer to generate vibrations and thus sound waves, which pass through a given body part on a person. In this a case, a finger is easily accessible and convenient. After the sound has passed through the skin, bones, and other tissues, a sensor picks up the unique bioacoustic signature. Teasing apart the distinct signatures of individuals is further boosted using modeling.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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