One day people may access bank accounts by picking up a phone and letting their ear do the talking, the New Scientist reports. Researchers in England are developing a new biometric technique that elicits the sound ear hairs create when ruffled by noise. If each person's "ear sound" is unique, and stays the same over time, it could become a high-tech password to access accounts and cellphones.
Predicted in the 1940s but only confirmed with ultralow-noise microphones in the 1970s , ear-generated sound is evoked with a series of clicking noises. Anecdotally, experts say they can differentiate one ear from another, but it "has to be able to reliably recognize people over long time periods," one scientist said. "For example, a fingerprint taken from a 20-year-old is still valid when they are 60."