What if your heartbeat was the key to your car, home, bank account… It turns out this may be coming in the future! Samsung Electronics has developed a Bio Processor (BioP) which is able to constantly monitor one’s heart rate with a built in Electrocardiogram (ECG). This technology puts it far ahead of any current wearables in accurately detecting heart rate by being able to actually graph and record changes in electrical currents that cause heart muscle depolarizations. The applications for health informatics would be huge if this technology was affordable for the everyday consumer, especially for people with heart problems.
Aside from the obvious health applications, Samsung Electronics is looking to use the BioP’s technology to securely unlock car doors and homes. To do this, the BioP has an included bluetooth transmitter and flash-memory to connect to your phones and other devices and provide constant health-related information very similar to the smart wearables we use today. Due to its ability to constantly monitor one’s unique heart rate (which is very hard to copy), it provides a high level of security. The downside to the current iteration of the device is that it needs to be placed directly on your skin next to your heart. Samsung is working to make this chip smaller and hopefully more affordable.
As a side note, you may be wondering how everyone’s heart rate can be unique when one’s heart rate varies during different activities and that is a very good question. The uniqueness of one’s heart rate comes from the patterns of electrical currents within the depolarization of the heart muscle that generates the beat. So although you may have increased your heart rate substantially after running, the pattern of eletrical currents that causes your heart polarization, albeit at a faster rate, will still be constant and unique to you.