Soon, You May Be Logging in to Email Using Brainwaves

April 8, 2013 | Andy Cush

Even with two-step verification (which you should probably sign up for now), the idea of using simple text for access to your most precious online information–like email and bank accounts–is almost astoundingly simple and dated. With that in mind, a team of researchers from UC Berkley came up with a surprisingly inexpensive alternative: using brain waves.

Using the Neurosky Mindset, a $200 commercial EEG sensor, the team had users perform a set of specific “thought tasks,” like imagining singing a song or counting objects of a particular color, which were designed to send a kind of mental fingerprint that a computer could identify like a password. After some tweaks, their error rate was below one percent.

Best of all, the Mindset isn’t some bulky, invasive thing like the mass of wired pictured above–if anything, it most resembles a telemarketer’s headset. So the next time you’re struggling to remember whether your Seamless password is the same as your Gmail or your Facebook, know there’s relief on the horizon.

(Photo: Glogger/Wikimedia Commons)