Selfies replacing passwords: will the blind be left behind?

Last updated: 24 May 2016


selfies and visually impaired Silvia post

Help, I’ve got too many passwords – I can’t remember them all!

Sounds familiar? This problem may soon become a thing of the past as banks increasingly embrace biometric authentication, which is about to become mainstream, according to a study by MobeyForum.

The selfie is one biometric authentication method we discussed recently. Ready, smile, flash! Who wouldn’t love to replace a tedious identity check with a fun selfie?

Those who cannot see very well – who represent about 15% of the world’s population. While taking a selfie is fun & games for many people, for others it’s an obstacle course. Am I centered? Is it blurry? If you can’t see, it’s hard to tell – and easy to be cut off from this exciting innovation. Are the visually impaired condemned to having to use far more passwords than they can possibly remember?

May be not. A group of researchers from the University of Surrey, the University Group for Identity Technologies (GUTI), and Carlos III University of Madrid are looking into alternative ways to give feedback. How about letting the visually impaired know if they are correctly positioned, lighted, and focused for their selfie through something they hear – such as a voice guiding them – or something they touch?

Poor hearing did not prevent Beethoven from composing, and typewriter artist Paul Smith copied the Mona Lisa despite having spastic cerebral palsy. Perhaps one day the visually impaired will surprise us with the quality of their selfifes – and be able to leave their passwords in the dustbin.

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