03
Sep
Nymi-Thumb

How many times do you unlock your smartphone within the span of a minute? I can't count the number of times I've unlocked my phone, started a podcast, put it down, changed my mind, unlocked the phone, selected a new podcast, put the phone back down, heard a chime, unlocked the phone, responded, and put the phone down - finally - for long enough to focus on something else. For the sake of convenience, I desperately want to leave my phone unlocked, but doing so frankly isn't safe. We've covered an NFC ring on Kickstarter that alleviates this problem by unlocking your phone whenever it's pressed against it, and now we're sharing the Nymi, a bracelet that can detect who you are and unlock your phone by measuring your heartbeat.

Nymi1

The Nymi offers three-factor security - requiring your heartbeat, your personalized bracelet, and a device registered with the app in order to work. It works by connecting to your smartphone or other devices using Bluetooth low energy. The authentication ceases to work after the bracelet has been unclasped, preventing someone else from accessing your data using the device, and it also fails to work if it can't detect a heartbeat, so a thief can't break into your stuff if you're, well, dead, even if the bracelet is still on your wrist. The Nymi also has a proximity detector, so it won't unlock a device on the other side of the room.

As demonstrated in the video above, the Nymi can be used for more than unlocking devices. If the developers manage to gather enough interest from other companies, the device can be used to make payments or open doors. Imagine merely twisting your wrist to open your car door rather than digging for the key, and you get the idea. It remains to be seen if developer Bionym will be able to find such support for its device, but at the very least, Android support will be available out of the box.

Nymi2

The Nymi is available for pre-order now and will ship sometime in early 2014. Those who take the bait will get the bracelet for $79 and won't be charged until the product ships. After the first run of 25,000 units are sold, the price will then jump to $99.

Sources: Press Release, Website

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Alec Cunningham

    Won't charge until it ships? Well, time to preorder it and forget about it...

    • David Thoren

      Simple (the bank, not as in easy, though it is) - Set up a goal for the $79. Money disappears and you can assign it when the thing finally ships.

      Had the same thought when I pre-ordered my Lockitron last year.. when I got Simple early this year I was able to add it as a goal. Now I know the money is there and it won't be a shock when the charge finally hits.

  • Elias

    Steep. Even $20 for the NFC ring was steep.
    I'd be OK if apps like tasked or llama could toggle screen lock like they did on the Gingerbread days, but google broke support to that feature on recent versions of android.
    Also, NFC should be turned on by default when the screen is turned on, so we could unlock devices right from the lock screen.

    • BigRedAndy

      You're missing the point. With an NFC ring, someone steals your ring and phone and they've got access. With this, because it requires your unique ECG to authenticate it every time the clasp is closed, unless it's on your wrist there is practically no way to get access. And if they get traction with it, who knows what the future holds.

    • andy_o

      Unless the ROM allows it, like on the moto x and AOKP, the phone can't be unlocked by NFC, because by default the phone has to be already unlocked for the NFC chip to be turned on, for security reasons. You can't even do that on CM. I don't think the NFC ring was designed for that.

  • jjrudey

    Well the car door thing is already even simpler on new cars with a smart key.

  • Cory_S

    I'd be more interested it if was incorporated into a standard watch band or something. I'm not going to wear a bracelet.

  • Matthew Fry

    I know that this is actually a lot of tech but it still feels like too much for such an ancillary device. Maybe if I had bothered to set up a lock screen on my phone.

    To Bertel, you know you can customize the time before it locks the device, right?

  • slick8125

    For all intents and purposes I'm sure it can deliver on what it says, but I have a hard time believing it can actually sniff out your "heartID" with just a bracelet. I'm rather impressed by Dr. Martin's degrees as well as the rest of the company, but I think they need Tony Stark to make a bracelet equivalent to a 12 lead EKG. I'm thinking it is one lead that makes sure you don't have a glaring difference in conduction to what it has been previously, and if it does, you have to put in a password. I'm somewhat doubtful it will be able to figure out PACs vs PVCs, and good luck with pacers. But hey if it can, I'm very wrong and hooray technology.

  • Michael

    Using the word unlock definitely got me extra excited, but was disappointed to find out it's not what i thought it was.

  • JPB

    Uses BLE. Does this mean it requires Android 4.3+?

    • Morten Lund

      No OME's often employ there own Bluetooth 4.0 LE implementation on devices. Android 4.3 just made it available as a native function. An example is the Moto X which supports Bluetooth 4.0 LE but is running 4.2.2.

  • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

    If it works with the Moto X, I am interested. I want to buy the Moto X and am interested in using its hand-off features, but I don't want to leave my phone unlocked.

  • Roger Siegenthaler

    Is it to much to ask that I want this integrated with one of those bio-bands that measure your health and all the fancy stuff? I'd pay upwards of $200 for one of those with this functionality...

  • ketu

    i am planning to preorder but i dnt have any idea how many days they took for the delivery of bracelet nd one more question is this bracelet applicable to apple devices?