Unlocking our phones is quite the hassle. Sticking a PIN or password on the lock screen is your most reliable option, but inputting that information every time admittedly gets old. There's face unlock, but that's too easy to circumvent. As for fingerprint scanning? The required hardware isn't exactly widespread. So now Descartes Biometrics is offering users the ability to unlock their smartphones... using their ears.

Once installed, ERGO serves as your phone's lockscreen. All you need to do to unlock the device, at least in theory, is tap on the screen and hold the phone up to your ear. If it doesn't work, then the app falls back to a good old-fashioned password. This is good, because if your luck is anything like mine, you're going to need it. If only I had President Obama's ears.



If ERGO absolutely fails to recognize your ear, you can reduce its accuracy to increase your chances. Of course, this also increases the odds that someone else's ears will be able to bypass it as well. I'd say those are odds that are probably already uncomfortably high to begin with, but given that I couldn't get my ears to work, there's a chance criminal Joe Schmo wouldn't be able to as well.

Anyone up for a $3.99 experiment can give the app a try in the Play Store below.

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.

  • DoubleP90

    "Natural and intuitive motion" yeah, I always unlock my phone with my ear.....

    For a second i thought i was on the Onion website

    • Pallav

      Even I thought this was some top level Onion satire. Guess not.

    • nejai

      LOL, but seriously: what can be more natural than put your phone in your ear?

    • PhilNelwyn

      It's not that different from face unlock...

  • thartist

    Someone test it and tell how it went! especially tell if you could unlock it with someone else's ears or doing simultaneos touches.

  • Anthony Tyson

    Why is it not called EARGO?

    • Cesar

      You, sir, win this comment section.

      • hyperbolic

        What about unlocking my phone using my penis with PINGO ?
        Does that entitle me to win at all ?

        • Andrés

          Wouldn't work, any one with a pinky finger could unlock it.

          • Eddjz

            Lol that also won you part of the comment section! Hahaha

        • Shirley Francisco


          ♣♣♣♣ ♣♣♣♣ ♣♣￿♣♣ ♣♣♣ ♣♣♣♣♣ ♣♣�♣ ♣♣♣Nobody puts their phone up to their ear as a first movement anymore.

    • mauswe

      Because it´s also "Ergonomic"

  • Mick Collingwood

    Haha... Loved the title of this post. Might give it a whirl just for the insane idea factor. I know that forensics say that each earprint is as unique as a fingerprint but don't know how accurate this could be!

  • Eric Meadow

    i saw this, and i lol'd

  • jamaall

    Imagine how stupid you would look tapping your phone to your ear every time you pick it up

  • CrazyAndro

    There should have a trial version of it, atleast for a single day day

    • nejai

      should be... anyway I buy it and the 15 minutes "try" window was enough to test it.. then I ask for a reimbursement ...

  • http://friskychatter.com/ _jsw_

    I bought it, tried getting it to register a profile on my Nexus 5, which presumably is powerful enough. I held it to my ear when told to do so, then figured out I was supposed to do that a few times (the interface is not intuitive), then it said "Crunching numbers" briefly. Very little feedback, and nothing happened after a couple of minutes. I tried this a few times, then got a refund before it was too late.

  • Bluewall

    The idea is not THAT bad. I mean, It would be less boring that typing a code. But it seems it doesn't work so...

  • nejai

    Good Idea , but cant´make it work on my device (at least in the 15 minutes reimburse window)

  • armandocj

    Why would you put your phone in your ear?

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

    Wait...I thought I was reading The Onion.

    • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

      Me too. I mean, is it even possible? Finger prints are unique, retinas are unique, tongue-prints are unique. And now this app says ear-prints are unique too...? Do two humans have anything in common?

      • LeDerp

        We all have a lack of common sense in common. OXYMORON. #mindfuck #whatifyouweardifferentearrings

  • Ryan Callihan

    So every time I pull my phone out my pocket I have to imitate making a call? I think I'll pass.

  • andy_o

    Besides what everyone else said, you also have to give up your actual lock screen, which has features like widgets and the camera, and if using a custom ROM or something like gravitybox, even more stuff.

    • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

      But isn't that problem inherent with almost any lockscreen replacement? I use Cover and I like it but I miss my standard lockscreen features.

      • andy_o

        Yeah, but lockscreen replacements usually offer more features, not fewer. I would hardly find ear-unlocking a compelling enough feature.

  • Alonso Tucati

    Great!! That's the next big thing. Much more intuitive than using your fingerprints. Why not double tap with your penis to unlock?

    • Cesar

      I can't believe nobody has tried the most intuitive thing yet: elbow unlock!

      • Firehawkws7

        Psshh! Amateur. I use my big toe. Yeah, I have to take a shoe and sock off, but the sense of security is worth it.

    • Arve Svendsen

      three taps automatically opens youporn

    • rpitera

      What is the penis trend in this thread all about???

  • TopXKiller

    The Codec functions by directly manipulating the small bones in the ears

  • mic555

    dafaq i just saw?

  • Mitch Thompson

    Ears can get... separated ... from their owners.

    • J.

      As can fingers and faces.

      • Mitch Thompson

        True. I think I'm fine with swiping my pattern code to get access. If you make things too easy, it's too easy to break it. “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” - A Einstein

  • Matthew Fry

    For some strange reason I'm not terribly interested in this.

  • jackennils

    Maybe I should make an app called "Wiener Unlock", scanning your ****. But then I might need a very large tablet. :-)

    • rpitera

      More like a smart watch.

  • Adam Howard

    How ear-itating would this lock screen be?

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Lolwut, so their idea is to take my device out of my pocket, put it to my ear to unlock it, put it away from my face to do something (let's say - call someone), and put it to my ear again after dialing the number?

  • antifud

    How stupid is this? There is no security in any form if it relies on anything physical you have on you, and especially anything people can see. It's that simple. Sorry, but this is no better or worse or any different than any other unlock.

    • Marc Edwards

      ... i think in the case of dealing with someone that's willing to cut off your fingers or ears in an attempt to unlock your phone, a password or pin wouldn't stay secret too long either...

      • antifud

        That is beyond excessive or extreme. Why would you assume violence? On what basis is there even a remote inclination that people are that violent or would resort to it? A simple photograph and/or a plastic/rubber model made from it would be more discrete and work for a majority of situations.

        • Marc Edwards

          you wouldn't get suspicious that someone wanted to borrow your phone and take a plastic model of your ear or finger print? my point was more to get hold of both your ear and phone would not be subtle. same applies to your fingerprint and phone. when security relies on something physically attached to you a data thief needs access to both your phone and that thing physically attached to you, which is where people's common sense should come in. the common sense bit is usually skipped in the face of threats of violence.

          • antifud

            You are completely off basis. Why do they need your phone to take the model? Again, all that's needed is a photo and you seem to keep supporting a nonexistent narrative of how people are going to need to obtain the data from your phone or the phone itself by either obtaining something from the individual or from physically handling the phone. Neither is necessary.

            They do not need the thing physically attached to you, anything of that concept can be reproduced in forms good enough to fool a phone. That is entirely my point and you are 100% incorrect. Come on dude, this is security 101 here. Why do you keep implying violence, again?

          • Marc Edwards

            ... if they don't have the phone what's the point in the model...?

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    Am I the only one here who doesn't let the phone screen touch his face / ear, even when on a call? I don't want sweat/oil/wax all over my screen.

    • ScrubUp

      Consider washing?

      • Cat Astrophy

        so take a shower right before any phone calls and never use your phone at any other time?

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Come on, it's only a phone.

    • Aphiwad Chhoeun

      what you should do is hold it in your hand, lower it, lower it further, put it down, and stop using phone.

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        Where do these guys come from..?

  • Cat Astrophy

    Just put it up to your friend's ear while he's sleeping and bam unlocked phone

  • ithehappy

    Aliens won't destroy our universe, these stupid kinda people will.

  • Dan

    Stucking fupid.