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The mobile device feature, created by Lockheed Martin, verifies a user’s identity based on the swiftness and shape of the individual’s finger strokes on a touch screen. The technology is but one incarnation of handwriting-motion recognition, sometimes called “dynamic signature” biometrics, that has roots in the Air Force.
“Nobody else has the same strokes,” said John Mears, senior fellow for Lockheed IT and Security Solutions. “People can forge your handwriting in two dimensions, but they couldn’t forge it in three or four dimensions. Three is the pressure you put in, in addition to the two dimensions on the paper. The fourth dimension is time. The most advanced handwriting-type authentication tracks you in four dimensions.”
The biometric factors measured by Lockheed’s technology, dubbed “Mandrake,” are speed, acceleration and the curve of an individual’s strokes.
“We’ve done work with the NSA with that for secure gesture authentication as a technique for using smartphones,” Mears said. “They are actually able to use it.”
According to Defense One . Lockheed officials said they do not know how or if the agency has operationally deployed the Mandrake smartphone doodling-recognition tool. The company also is the architect of the FBI’s recently completed $1 billion facial, fingerprint, palm print, retina scan and tattoo image biometric ID system. That project, called the Next Generation Identification system, could tie in voice and “gait matching” (how a person walks) in the future, the bureau has said.
Mandrake potentially might be useful for emergency responders who often do not have the time or capability to access an incident command website, Mears said.