Scientists develop safety control system using one’s own breath

Biometric authentication could soon be revolutionized as scientists in Japan have developed a security tool that identifies people by their breath.

Being able to fully rely on identity control systems is more important than ever for public institutions such as airports, but also for a large number of private companies.

Researchers at Kyushu University said their scent sensor had an accuracy of 97 percent in an initial series of tests.

Breath odor based individual authentication illustration
Breath odor-based individual authentication using an artificial odor sensor could become possible in the near future, as this artist’s rendering shows.
Kyushu University, Yanagida Laboratory/Zenger

Chaiyanut Jirayupat from the Institute for Materials Chemistry and Engineering at Kyushu University is the first author of the study. Speaking of the potential advantages over security checks of fingerprints, voice or palm prints, he said: “These techniques rely on the physical uniqueness of each individual, but they are not foolproof.

“Physical characteristics can be copied or even affected by injuries.

“Recently, human smell has emerged as a new class of biometric authentication that essentially uses your unique chemical composition to validate who you are.”

Jirayupat said his research team initially focused on percutaneous gas. This term refers to compounds produced by human skin.

He explained: “These methods have limitations because the skin does not produce a high enough concentration of volatile compounds for machines to detect.”

The scientists then evaluated the possibilities that studying human breath would offer.

Artificial smell sensor
Image of an artificial smell sensor used for breath-based biometric authentication. The sensor consists of a 4×4 channel array for a total of 16 sensors. Each sensor detects a specific set of compounds found in human breath. The data is then processed by a neural network, which then determines the person.
Kyushu University, Yanagida Laboratory/Zenger

Jirayupat stressed that human breath had previously been used to find out whether a person had cancer, diabetes and COVID-19.

The Kyushu University research group identified a total of 28 compounds in the subjects’ breath that could be used for biometric authentication.

They then developed an olfactory sensor array with 16 channels. Each of them can identify a specific range of connections. Sensor data from each person’s breath was analyzed by a machine that eventually created a unique profile for each person.

Study leader Takeshi Yanagida pointed out that the researchers achieved an average accuracy of 97.8 percent in the first series of tests on six people.

Yanigada emphasized that this high level of accuracy remained constant even when the sample size was increased to 20 people.

He said: “This was a diverse group of people of different ages, genders and nationalities. It is encouraging to see such high accuracy across the board.”

Yanigada made it clear that further research is needed to implement the system.

Breath collection bag for ID
The subjects first breathe into a collection bag, which is then connected to the scent sensor, which analyzes the compounds found in the person’s breath. Based on the concentration of the connections, the machine learning system identifies the person.
Kyushu University, Yanagida Laboratory/Zenger

He explained: “This work required our subjects to fast for six hours before the test.

“We have developed a good basis. The next step will be to refine this technique to work independently of diet.

“Fortunately, our current study showed that adding more sensors and collecting more data can overcome this obstacle.”

The research team from Kyushu University collaborated with the University of Tokyo for this study, which was published on June 22 chemical communication diary.

Located in the city of Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu, Kyushu University has 16 faculties, 11 undergraduate schools and 18 graduate schools.

It was founded in 1903 and today has more than 18,000 students from around 90 countries.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News. Scientists develop safety control system using one’s own breath

Rick Schindler

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