A new piece of research from Data 61, the digital research arm of CSIRO, has found the energy patterns we generate when we walk can be used to power mobile devices and to authenticate our identity. It turns out we have, in Star Trek parlance, unique energy signatures.
Accelerometers can be used to capture the motion and velocity of an individual’s gait. But the cost of this has been battery life as the sensor collects the data. Data61's researchers have overcome this by combining gait recognition with a technique called kinetic energy harvesting (KEH), which translates a person’s motion into electrical energy and improves battery life.
“By applying both techniques we have developed a way to achieve two goals at once - powering devices and the ability to verify a person’s identity using a wearable device by capturing the energy generated from the way they walk,” Researcher at Data61 Sara Khalifa said.
During a trial of KEH gait authentication with 20 users, Data 61 showed that KEH-Gait can achieve an authentication accuracy of 95% and reduce energy consumption by 78%, compared to conventional accelerometer-based authentication techniques.
A more detailed explanation of the research and testing can be found here [PDF].