A Lithuanian company has a prototype security system based on a Kinect that indicates how we might interact with the cash dispensers of the future.
So you walk into your local bank branch and attempt to withdraw a large amount of money. This is secure because the teller recognizes you because you visit the back once a week on average. He recognizes your voice, face, body type, movements and so on. If by any chance you walk away during the transaction, or if another person slips in front of you and takes over, then the human AI system that is a bank teller will immediately notice and terminate the transaction.
This is obviously secure and without too many difficult authentication hoops to jump through.
Now Etronika, a Lithuanian company, has presented to the world at Finovate Europe 2012, the same level of security, but using a Kinect in place of the human element. You sit down in front of your Kinect-equipped PC and it recognizes your face and your voice.
After identification you use the bank's website as normal, but the Kinect still monitors what is happening and if you leave or are replaced then it terminates the connection. I say "use the website as normal" but of course the Kinect also allows gestures and voice commands to be used.
At the moment there doesn't seem to be 100% confidence that the system is secure enough on its own, so for cash withdrawals you also need a PIN, but security is always more secure with multiple levels.
Take a look at the video of the presentation:
You don't have to think about it for very long to realize that this is a total security solution. If it can be proved reliable, then a Kinect type device is cheap enough to be included as standard hardware. There are already designs for laptops with built-in Kinect sensors and the same technology could be applied to ATMs.
Of course security isn't a static game. Now we have a new biometric system, we will have new ways to spoof it. Perhaps a 3D printer could be used to run off a body clone and a digital sound system could capture the voice.
You can see the system demonstrated next at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but it is also obvious that this isn't going to be the only security system based on this sort of 3D scan plus voice recognition.
Today we celebrate the birth on December 26th, 1791 of Charles Babbage, the man who invented calculating machines that, although they were never realised in his lifetime, are rightly seen as the [ ... ]