Bangalore January 11 2015: 'Look into my eyes', sang Bryan Adams in the hit theme song of Robin Hood : Prince of Thieves. A quarter century on, the phrase has acquired new, technologically precise meaning, as Iris scanning is poised to become the most convenient, most accurate way of establishing that you are you.
Last week, in a keynote at the International VLSI Conference in Bangalore, Nandan Nilekani, the man who brought the Aadhaar project to fruition, suggested that we may soon say goodbye to the hassles of one time passwords (OTPs), to meet the unique requirement in India for a 2-factor authentication for financial transactions. That will happen when mobile phones become biometric devices, with a built-in Iris camera that can look into the owner's eye and establish his or her identity.
By a nice coincidence, at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, one of the hot, new trends on show was Iris scanners on personal devices. The US-based Viewsonic, put out teaser videos for the world's first iris-scanning mobile phone -- the V55. An extra lens locks on to the owner's eyeball to authenticate the person and unlock the phone. Samsung too, has been hinting since mid 2014 , that an upcoming Galaxy phone will come with an Iris scanner.
Nilekani goes a step further: A special Iris camera may not be needed he says: Two Indian companies have already perfected the technology that will turn the existing camera lens of a 5000-rupee phone into an Iris scanner. If so, we may -- thanks to 'make in India' jugaad ( frugal innovation)-- see this CES-launched technology in India, ahead of anywhere else in the world, at a fraction of the cost!