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Biometric Touch Sensing: Seamlessly Augmenting Each Touch with Continuous Authentication

Christian Holz and Marius Knaust. Proceedings of ACM UIST 2015.
Abstract

Current touch devices separate user authentication from regular interaction, for example by displaying modal login screens before device usage or prompting for in-app passwords, which interrupts the interaction flow. We propose biometric touch sensing, a new approach to representing touch events that enables commodity devices to seamlessly integrate authentication into interaction: From each touch, the touchscreen senses the 2D input coordinates and at the same time obtains biometric features that identify the user. Our approach makes authentication during interaction transparent to the user, yet ensures secure interaction at all times. To implement this on today’s devices, our watch prototype Bioamp senses the impedance profile of the user’s wrist and modulates a signal onto the user’s body through skin using a periodic electric signal. This signal affects the capacitive values touchscreens measure upon touch, allowing devices to identify users on each touch. We integrate our approach into Windows 8 and discuss and demonstrate it in the context of various use cases, including access permissions and protecting private screen contents on personal and shared devices.