Your eyes are your passwords! A number of smartphones launched in the last 12-18 months, including the latest Samsung Galaxy S8, have in-built iris scanners, allowing you to unlock the smartphone just by looking at it for a brief moment.
Biometric technologies, such as fingerprints, and now iris, have been introduced in mobile phones to address perhaps a well-known human limitation and one of the biggest pain-points in the use of digital technology – forgetting, and then having to reset passwords to access our devices and applications.
Biometric technologies extract uniqueness of these features like fingerprints, face or iris of the eye, to generate the equivalent of passwords or PINs we never have to remember and hence, we will never forget. Amongst these, the iris recognition is proving to be a more secure, reliable and easy to use technology. The reasons for this are hidden in the biology of the iris itself.
Why is Iris Scanning a Better Biometric Technology?
The iris is the doughnut like muscle structure around the pupil of the eye. The iris in each eye has a rich and unique pattern, similar to the fingerprint pattern. This pattern of the iris is more complex, which translates into more information content, more entropy, and higher level security of the “password” generated using the iris. Fingerprint patterns are simpler as compared to iris patterns, hence have lower information content, and lower security of the “passwords” that can be generated. In a way, fingerprint pattern generates a 4-digit passcode, while the iris due to its richer pattern generates an equivalent to a 6-digit passcode. In this aspect iris scanning provides higher level of security compared to fingerprint scanning.