Everyone has a unique fingerprint. No two are the same, and even each of your individual fingers are different*. We use them to access our phones, enter secured locations, or get booked after being arrested. Now, scientists at Binghamton University in New York have upped the ante. Fingerprints are old news. We’ve entered the era of the “brainprint.”
The team of researchers, led by Sarah Laszlo and Zhanpeng Jin, hooked up their 50 test subjects with electroencephalograms (EEGs) and showed them a variety of images and words. One, for example, was a picture of a slice of pizza.
The researchers then looked at the responses of each subject’s brain, and found they could, with 100% accuracy, identify each individual based on their brainwaves alone. Just like with fingerprints, everyone’s brain reactions to stimuli are unique.
They call this process Cognitive Event-RElated Biometric REcognition, or for those who don’t think this is scifi enough – the CEREBRE Protocol.
And your unique brainwaves? Those are “brainprints.”
As you can imagine, this may have some compelling applications in the future, particularly involving security. Given its 100% accuracy, the researchers feel it’s definitely worth looking into further.
*As usual, things are little more nuanced here than I’d like, so let’s clarify. While fingerprints are thought to be unique to each individual, there’s a bit more to it. At least one expert believes that using fingerprints from crime scenes is a flawed practice for a variety of reasons, and while it may be improbable that two fingerprints would be the same, it’s not impossible. Human error in identifying fingerprints is also an issue. Just, you know, some fun facts.