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New "tapping" sensor could help in fight against fraud

Published: 
25 February 2003

The way a person taps a number into a cash machine or mobile phone, could, according to scientists at the University of Southampton, be used as a means of identification, and prove useful in the battle against fraud.

Professor Neil White of the University of Southampton's Department of Electronics and Computer Science has developed an inexpensive sensor which can be integrated into objects of various shapes and sizes, including smart cards and hand-held devices such as mobile phones.

When a person taps on the object, a unique set of waveforms are produced, which can then be programmed and used for verification of the individual's identity. The next time they go to use the mobile phone or cash machine, they will only be allowed access if their tapping matches their programmed identity.

The initial research has now been completed and Professor White and his team are looking at apply these sensors to a variety of applications in the area of secure systems.

"The concept of identifying people by how they knock or tap is not completely new," comments Professor White. "In the early days of telegraphy, operators could identify each other by how they tapped out messages - but, the concept of using a sensor for identification is novel and our "tapping" sensor is an inexpensive device which can be applied to a wide range of scenarios."

Notes for editors

The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University, which celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2002, has 20,000 students and over 4,500 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £235 million.

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