NEC Corporation has globally released a new device that uses ear acoustic biometric authentication to identify individuals and prevent unauthorized use of devices. The "Hearable Device" was jointly developed with Foster Electric Company, Limited, and was made available from October 21 through "Makuake Global," a service to support pre-ordering provided by Makuake, Inc (makuake-world.com).
In 2020, when the Hearable Device first became available in Japan, it immediately achieved its sales target approximately 2 hours after its release. As a result, it was nominated for "Makuake Of The Year 2021," which is awarded to projects for story, topic, number of supporters and pre-ordering totals.
In addition to the existing ear acoustic authentication, speech active noise canceling and sensors that were already installed, this new model is equipped with functions that acquire biometric information (ear canal surface temperature and pulse related information) from ears, thereby enabling a new way to verify personal authentication. Moreover, it provides an SDK for application development, which makes it possible for users to independently develop applications for iOS and Android that utilize the functions of the Hearable Device.
In recent years, in response to various security risks, such as impersonation and unauthorized access, which are rapidly increasing with the spread of digitalization, authentication has become more complicated when using services, which has created a new problem of increasing the burden on users.
The ear acoustic authentication installed in the Hearable Device is a biometric authentication method that identifies individuals by utilizing the internal structure of the head, including ear holes. This is an original NEC technology that is part of the biometrics brand "Bio-IDiom"(*). Since authentication is performed using an earphone-type device, it differs from other biometrics authentication in that personal identification can be performed by simply listening to sound, anytime, anywhere. When using digital services such as online meetings, users have no need to enter an ID or password, and can be authenticated naturally just by wearing earphones.
Features of the Hearable Device
1. Joint development between NEC and Foster Electric
Jointly developed by NEC, which boasts approximately 50 years in research and development as a biometrics authentication vendor and possesses world-class technology, and Foster Electric, which operates globally as a manufacturer of audio equipment and parts.
2. NEC’s original ear acoustic authentication
Ear acoustic authentication using individual differences in the spatial structure of the head, including the ear hole (ear canal). This original NEC technology uses an earphone-type authentication device that emits a test sound into the ear canal and determines an individual’s identity from the reflected sound.
3. Speech active noise cancelling
Equipped with a function that allows a user to clearly communicate only their own voice to other parties, even in noisy environments. In addition to preventing unintended voice intrusion and information leakage in online meetings, voice memos can also be stored with high security.
4. Various sensors that can acquire biological information
Newly equipped with functions to acquire ear canal surface temperature and pulse related information data from the outer ear. Moreover, it enables the development of services and applications that use temperature change data, in addition to conventional use of data that includes touch, proximity, geomagnetism, acceleration and angular velocity.
Other Features of the Hearable Device
Shape: True Wireless type
• Ear acoustic authentication
• Speech active noise cancelling (ANC)
• Sensors (geomagnetism, acceleration, angular velocity, touch, proximity, ear canal surface temperature, pulse related information)
Operating time: Continuous playback time: Up to 6 hours, Continuous talk time: Up to 6 hours
Weight: Body approx. 8g x 2, charger (excluding USB cable) approx. 60g
Transmission method: Bluetooth Ver.5.2
Body Size: 25.0mm x 21.7mm x 27.2mm (Including ear tips)
Charging case size: 41.0mm x 67.0mm x 47.0mm (Excluding charging cable)
Overview of Makuake Global Project
• Cloud Funding Start Date: October 21, 2022
• Cloud Funding End Date: January 17, 2023
• Availability: United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Taiwan
• Estimated delivery launch: End of April, 2023
(*) NEC's six biometric authentication technologies: face recognition, iris recognition, fingerprint/palmprint recognition, voice recognition, and ear acoustic authentication. NEC uses these biometric technologies under the "Bio-IDiom" brand in various applications and in effective combinations to realize a world where "anyone can utilize digital contents safely and securely."
About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation (nec.com) has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes taking place in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential.
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