The banality of key to my heart is all set to be a thing of the past. The stage is totally set for a role reversal, where your heart a.k.a your heartbeat will be the key to many locks! In our latest research confab, Juan Sebastian Arteaga talks about the latest authentication technology to keep your eyes on. Juan, is a PhD. candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UOttawa. One can find Juan lost in the nitty gritties of his research in the MCR Lab (Multimedia Computing Research Laboratories) of EECS, UOttawa.

In continuation of his Master’s thesis ECG Authentication for Mobile Device, Juan’s current research focuses on optimization of an ECG based authentication system. This authentication system can be used in mobile devices and other personalized security systems. One of the real time applications is patient tracking using their heart rates. The booming wearable technology can effectively incorporate such biometric authentication schemes. The core of the system uses ECG as a biometric for uniquely identifying individuals. Juan’s work revolves around improving the true acceptance rate and at the same time reducing the false acceptance rate, a common measure of system performance in the biometric industry.

The USP of this technology is the guard against easy replication. This fortifies the security in the system. Juan explains that it is almost impossible to replicate a person’s ECG signal trace unlike fingerprint replication. The life cycle of the security system is limited by a person’s life span. The low power specification like most wearables in the market is an added advantage. ECG based authentication system can be added to the list of technologies awaiting commercialization. One can look forward to opening doors with their heart rate signature or control over IOT in a personalized network. Also no need to come up with innovative user names and passwords! Your heart beats can be key to every lock.

Upon being asked of the bare essentials for a research professional, Juan stresses on the Do’s and the Don’ts.

1.  Always be honest to the research. Reporting accurate results is a must.
2. Involve yourself in other extra curricular activities, and don’t get caught up in a mundane cycle of all work and no play.
3. Talk to your colleagues about your work. He believes that discussions are the best critique of your work.

1. “Never lose your patience”, he says! “Frustration is the biggest enemy”.
2.  Never slack on communication with your supervisor and co workers. “This harms the dynamics of a research team”.

Juan agrees that the excitement of contributing something unique and beneficial to the society surpasses the seriousness and the exhaustive regimen of academics. Excitement that is empowering in it’s own way. With a wide smile Juan says that one should never stop learning as knowledge gives freedom. A very deep thought indeed. Wrapping up the conversation, Juan provides some words of advice for prospective Masters and PhD. students in STEM. He suggests that nurturing an aptitude for STEM is important. Juan asks people to build a penchant at early stages in their education ladder. That is, the stronger the foundation, the more profound the innovation. To know more about Juan and his team’s research visit MCR Lab.