Researchers Propose OdorTAM for Studying the Acceptance of Biometric Authentication

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We access our devices differently, from simply typing passwords to facial recognition. Retinal and hand scanners you see on TV or in movies are no longer fictional. Our means of authenticating are becoming more personalized these days. But how would you feel about a biometric authentication that uses your body odor?

Different odor-producing spots in the human body
Image: Sameena Naaz, et al. / MDPI

Our scent acts like a fingerprint that can reveal different information about us beyond health concerns, like our food, activities, or even emotional state. Apart from these details perhaps being too intrusive, people are generally more aware of data privacy. As such, a group of researchers from Jamia Hamdard University in India proposed “a technology acceptance model (TAM) for body-odor-based biometric techniques named OdorTAM” to determine if people are ready for the technology.

Accepting the body-odor-based system

While there’s little to nothing on commercial products, a person’s body odor is commonly used in police field work for dogs to sniff and find people. The probability of scents being used for personalized device access isn’t impossible. Some researchers of a different study proposed using an electronic nose for this. However, even if the technology is available, the question remains if people will want that kind of feature. Hence the study on OdorTAM.

The researchers proposed that the OdorTAM considers the trust and willingness of a person. A person’s perception of the usefulness and ease of use is based on how much they trust the system. Their view on the system’s ease of use is due to trust which affects their attitude towards its usefulness. The researchers hypothesized that this could affect the willingness of a person to use the system and their behavior towards it. Depending on what that outcome is, it will finally lead to whether the person will use the system or not.

OdorTAM
Image: Sameena Naaz, et al. / MDPI

The OdorTAM seems simplistic, but it’s important to note that the technology is still quite foreign to most. The researchers’ survey showed that 70.7% of participants had never heard of a body-odor-based system for biometric authentication. Since there’s a lack of knowledge, people are also wary about its data privacy.

The researchers concluded that the trust is still not there, and it should be remedied with more exposure to educate people about it. From there, they found that the survey supports the proposed OdorTAM. If trust in the system is built, people will eventually be more willing to accept and use their body odor on their devices.

Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Rostyslav Oleksin. The image in the body of the article is owned by Sameena Naaz et al and was published in the MDPI paper.
Source: Kate Douglas (NewScientist) / MDPIMDPI

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Danielle Ordonez
Danielle Ordonez
Writer/editor who loves coffee and her cat. Takes a lot of time before finishing a game. Japanophile. Slightly scared of crowds.
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