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Howard Chizeck's Haptic Password Project Supported by Innovation Funding

Professor Howard Chizeck has received CoMotion Innovation Funding to support development of a new method for authenticating online transactions. The Haptic Passwords project aims to stop transaction fraud with forgery-proof, secure signature-based authentication.

With the new method, authentication is based on how the signature is made, as well as how it looks as you interact with the device (phone, tablet or laptop). No PIN or alphanumeric password must be remembered. This approach uses new devices with force sensitive touch screens. An estimated 300 million devices will utilize haptic technology by 2017, which is expected to rapidly replace older phones and laptops.

The technology transfer project is exploring commercialization of results obtained in research supported by the NSF CPS: Breakthrough: Secure Telerobotic project. In addition to Professor Chizeck, it involves alum Tamara Bonaci (Ph.D. ‘15) and Ph.D. student Junjie Yan.

The initial commercialization target is the rapidly growing mobile transaction segment where there is no analog to the newly introduced (in the United States) “chip” or “chip and pin” technology to reduce point-of-sale fraud. For online transactions, retailers assume the online fraud risk and merchants lose about 1.3% of total revenue to fraud ($16 billion in expected annual lost revenue by 2020).

The overall market includes anywhere a signature is used to authenticate a transaction or an identity: retail point-of-sale, mobile transactions, legal agreements, facility access and border security. UW CoMotion funding will enable the development of prototypes for real-world situations, for demonstration to potential investors and customers and either spinoff company formation or IP licensing.

Congratulations, Howard!

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