discover places you never knew you wanted to stay…

AccorHotels launched something it calls the Seeker Project, a program that uses your heartbeat and instinctual reactions to different scenery to show you places its algorithm thinks you may want to visit.

There’s a website version anyone can try, but the whole thing started when a number of influences were invited to Toronto and “asked to wear a headband to monitor their alpha and gamma brain waves and wrist cuffs that measured their heart rate and skin response. The experience then determined whether that person was an introvert or extrovert, sought tranquility or adventure, or preferred modern to rustic environments.

The biometric data was then processed through a custom algorithm and produced into a psychographic illustration and the visitors received recommendations for dream destinations based on their personal data.”

It provided results looking something like the ones I got below:

“You are craving a chance to reconnect with the world in a warm destination. You have a preference for classic and traditional surroundings and need to recharge in a spa getaway. You feel most at home in the serenity of the outdoors. A romantic getaway is what your heart wants.”

Why It’s Hot: 

We can think we know what we want, and go after it, but how do we know there isn’t something else we really want? Using unconscious signals to make suggestions will allow them to help us uncover things we may never have known otherwise. Granted, it’s not revealing serious information like other biometric products we’ve seen recently. But, it’s interesting to see what’s possible now that we’re able to tap into biometric data in new ways.



dragon drive: jarvis for your car…

The wave of magical CES 2018 innovations has begun to roll in, and among those already announced is a company called Nuance Communications’s “Dragon Drive” – an (extremely) artificially intelligent assistant for your car.

According to Digital Trends

“By combining conversational artificial intelligence with a number of nonverbal cues, Dragon Drive helps you talk to your car as though you were talking to a person. For example, the AI platform now boasts gaze detection, which allows drivers to get information about and interact with objects and places outside of the car simply by looking at them and asking Dragon Drive for details. If you drive past a restaurant, you can simply focus your gaze at said establishment and say, “Call that restaurant,” or “How is that restaurant rated?” Dragon Drive provides a “meaningful, human-like response.”

Moreover, the platform enables better communication with a whole host of virtual assistants, including smart home devices and other popular AI platforms. In this way, Dragon Drive claims, drivers will be able to manage a host of tasks all from their cars, whether it’s setting their home heating system or transferring money between bank accounts.

Dragon Drive’s AI integration does not only apply to external factors, but to components within the car as well. For instance, if you ask the AI platform to find parking, Dragon Drive will take into consideration whether or not your windshield wipers are on to determine whether it ought to direct you to a covered parking area to avoid the rain. And if you tell Dragon Drive you’re cold, the system will automatically adjust the car’s climate (but only in your area, keeping other passengers comfortable).

Why It’s Hot:

Putting aside the question of how many AI assistants we might have in our connected future, what was really interesting to see was the integration of voice and eye tracking biometrics. Things like using your voice as your key (/to personalize your settings to you and your passengers), the car reminding you of memories that happened at locations you’re passing, and identifying stores/buildings/restaurants/other things along your route with just a gaze, it’s amazing to think what the future holds when all the technologies we’ve only just seen emerging in recent years converge.

[More info]

your palm is your password…

In the last 12 months, biometric technology seems to have really started to hit the mainstream. We’ve got fingerprint scanning, facial recognition, retina scans, and microchipping. All require either specific technology to read, or as Redrock Biometrics explains about facial recognition – “it’s easy to fake”, using a picture instead of a real face. So Redrock is introducing palm scanning as a new authentication method, which works with any device that has a camera. Take a picture of your palmprint, and it becomes your unique signature – wave it in front of any camera, and you’re in.

The official explanation of how it works:

The PalmID Capture Module uses sophisticated machine vision techniques to convert RGB video of the palm into a template for authentication. The PalmID Matching Module can run server side or locally. In just 10-100 milliseconds, it can match the authentication attempt against the enrollment template, using proprietary algorithms extensively tested against tens of thousands of palm images.


To date, no single biometrics technology has been able to satisfy these differing needs and expectations. And, consumers have to enroll their finger, iris, face or palm for every device that uses biometrics for authentication.


What if there were a new biometric approach that met the security, convenience and reliability needs for many industries in one solution? And, what if consumers had to enroll just once and many devices would immediately recognize them

Why it’s hot:

This raised the question – how will we manage these multiple methods in a future where there might be several ways to authenticate people? This is being pitched as a solution almost anyone can implement, and they say the wave of the hand shows intention that a retina scan, for example, doesn’t. But is this just a stopgap until a more sophisticated technology makes retina scanning, or microchipping, or something else altogether ubiquitous?

Face-Controlled Emojis

“A new app is trying to make it simpler to help you react to photos and videos that your friends post online—it’s using AI to capture your facial expressions and automatically translate them into a range of emoji faces.

Polygram, which is free and available only for the iPhone for now, is a social app that lets you share things like photos, videos, and messages. Unlike on, say, Facebook, though, where you have a small range of pre-set reactions to choose from beyond clicking a little thumbs-up icon, Polygram uses a neural network that runs locally on the phone to figure out if you’re smiling, frowning, bored, embarrassed, surprised, and more.

Marcin Kmiec, one of Polygram’s cofounders, says the app’s AI works by capturing your face with the front-facing camera on the phone and analyzing sequences of images as quickly as possible, rather than just looking at specific points on the face like your pupils and nose. This is done directly on the phone, using the iPhone’s graphics processing unit, he says.

When you look at a post in the app you see a small yellow emoji on the bottom of the display, its expression changing along with your real one. There’s a slight delay—20 milliseconds, which is just barely noticeable—between what you’re expressing on your face and what shows up in the app. The app records your response (or responses, if your expression changes a few times) in a little log of emoji on the side of the screen, along with those of others who’ve already looked at the same post.”


Why It’s Hot:

-The Circle is coming to life (eek)

-This has larger implications for how Biometrics are across various sub-categories such as e-commerce (e.g ratings & reviews) and advertisers (e.g. ad performance metrics)

-With new iPhone pushing this technology to the masses in the millions this type of functionality is sure to catch fire



Get weed, booze and ammo from a vending machine. Sure, why not?

A company called American Green has created a vending machine that relies on biometrics to dispense things such as alcohol, marijuana and ammunition. Customers sign up and verify their age, prescriptions, gun permits, etc., with actual persons to keep the merch out of the hands of minors or the wrong people….because there’s no such thing as hacking, right?


Story on BBC News

Why It’s Hot

Biometrics aren’t just for boring things like logging into your iPhone or boarding planes anymore. This is, perhaps, a more interesting use case.

Juicero? More like a giant lemon!

A company called Juicero is in hot water for selling an expensive device with no known discernible value.

Full story at The Verge

This reminds me of the Father Guido Sarducci skit on SNL about Mr. Tea (a companion to Mr. Coffee). You supply your own tea bag and your own hot water. LOL.







Why it’s Hot

This is as cold as a kale-flavored icee.





Pay With Your Heartbeat

nymi-band-coffee-964x644Nymi, MasterCard and TD Bank Group have kicked off a pilot program for a wearable device that is able to authenticate payments using the wearer’s heartbeat. The Nymi Band utilizes HeartID, which leverages a person’s unique cardiac signature (or ECG) as a biometric identifier. It is the world’s first biometrically authenticated wearable, in the form of a stylish wristband that lets you pay for items and prove your identity using your heartbeat.

This closed payment pilot is taking place over the summer to test the Nymi Band’s contactless payment functionality. Over 100 TD users in Toronto, Ottawa and Regina will be trying out the new technology, with other participating Canadian banks scheduled to launch similar pilots later this year.

An NFC-enabled prototype of the Nymi Band has been developed for the pilots, which is linked to a user’s MasterCard to enable them to make contactless payments using the Tap & Go terminals found at lots of retailers. The Nymi Band is a reliable and continuous wearable authenticator that combines convenience and security. Karl Martin, Nymi’s founder and CEO said:

Nymi’s goal is to fundamentally change the way authentication is treated and to move industries towards a more secure and convenient identity model. By working with partners like TD and MasterCard, we are effectively demonstrating that continuous authentication can be a more secure and convenient way to make retail payments.

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

Wearables and payment innovation are 2 hot topics that are coming together more and more often. Another hot topic is data security, privacy and reassurance associated with wearables and contactless payments. I like this wearable because the ultimate goal is seamlessness, and it’s charting new territory to achieve that. It’s also taking us to a “screenless” place, which is where the SXSW panelists predicted this year at the event.

Art Auction Where Bids Are Collected by User’s Emotional Response

Swedish glass maker Kosta Boda and its digital agency Ellermore hosted an auction that gave away three unique pieces of glass art based solely on emotions rather than the highest monetary bids.

Each of the 300+ participants viewed the auction pieces in a private room, while hooked up to a heart rate monitor and galvanic skin response (GSR) sensor. The monitors would record the participants’ biometric response to seeing the art for the first time, and the person with the highest emotional response was awarded the art. While the person was hooked up, other participants could view the person’s live response on TV monitors setup in a common space, which added to the competitive nature of the auction.

Why It’s Hot

With the advent of incorporating inexpensive biometric sensors within many different consumer technologies like smartphones and wearables, we are opening our bodies to data collection that create new and interesting ways. This auction took that data and twisted it into a competition.  Perhaps in the future we will use other biometric data to bypass the traditional purchase process.  For example, new variable pricing models could be created to price products/services based on your emotion, desperation, etc.

Source: PSFK

Swipe your finger to access PayPal

Paypal and Samsung have partnered to allow access to Paypal just though the biometric swipe of a finger on your smartphone.  As an initiative of the FIDO Alliance (Fast IDentity Online), a consortium of major companies promoting secure online authentification, this major announcement is a “first step towards the wholesale replacement of the traditional text-based password with a unique biometric system based on the FIDO protocol,” according to RelaxNews (as reported on Yahoo News).

For the time being it’s only available through Samsung’s Galaxy SF phone, because that’s the only phone currently integrated with PayPal.  But that will likely change and more consumers will be able to use this technology on their own phones.

Why It’s Hot

No more typing a password. More security on your phone. Instant gratification. Biometric authentification has the potential to redefine how shoppers pay and how money gets moved around. Look for biometrics to gain traction and facilitate this new payment method in a world where our own DNA will give us access to unlimited social and economic experiences.

Biometric alternatives to passwords

In the not-too-distant future we may find ourselves using unique behavioral and biological traits such as fingerprints, gait, shapes of our ears, heart beat, to unlock devices and gain access to our private accounts. Biometric authentication will not replace passwords any time soon as current tech is not compatible with most of these approaches and there are legal and privacy issues to wrangle through. But there have already been inroads into it. For example, Apple embedded a fingerprint senor into the home button of its iPhone 5s to be ahead of curve in this technology. Apple has also applied for a patent for an embedded heart rate monitor for its iPhone technology. This could be a flat pad on the side of the iPhone or a wearable that would distinguish the unique heart beat. The video below shows how KFC is using biometrics in its stores.

Why It’s Hot

The hacking into the Target store customer accounts demonstrates the need for greater protection measures around personal electronic data. Migrating away from alphanumeric passwords to behavioral and biological traits may help create greater security. Of course, with this also comes all of the “Big Brother” conversations and concerns about our increasing dependence on technology erodes our privacy–which is fairly ironic is this case.


Nymi- Is this biometric wristband the ultimate in security?

Bionym, the company that makes the Nymi wristband, markets it as a simple-to-use log-on device. Basically, it provides a biometric alternative to a password, using Bluetooth wireless signals to send your heartbeat signature to all sorts of computing systems where you need security, including your PC, your iPad, even your car.

Because your electrocardiogram, or ECG, readings are both hard to spoof and unique, Bionym thinks these little plastic wristbands will open up a whole new era of fun, password-free living — as you can see in this fantasy demo video:

Why it’s HOT:

FOUR of the hottest trends in technology are combined here. Wearable electronics, biometrics, security and the seamless integration between humans and their environment are all integrated into this nifty little gadget. What started off as a security device that would use your heartbeat as a unique ID, it quickly grew into an application for everyday life. What’s most interesting to me is that you can store your virtual wallets on it. Recently they made an offer to include a free integrated bitcoin wallet (see Rob’s article) for all of those that buy it. In case you were wondering, Nymi measures heart-wave characteristics that are constant, Bionym says, so the device will work whether you’re nervous or sleepy or you’ve just finished exercising.The cost to pre-order this product is only $79 but its not going into production until the Spring of 2014.