Wearable Device with Biometric Authentication

Article By : Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio

Italian startup Flywallet has unveiled Keyble at CES 2021. Keyble is a wearable solution with multiple biometric authentications to allow users to prove their identity and enable contactless payments and digital services...

Italian startup Flywallet has unveiled Keyble at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2021). Keyble is a wearable solution with multiple biometric authentications to allow the users to prove their identity and enable contactless payments and digital services. The wearable device also features medical sensors that allow users to monitor their parameters and securely share them with their doctor or hospital institutions. In an interview with EE Times Europe, Lorenzo Frollini, CEO and founder of Flywallet, explained how Keyble can be used in fashion accessories such as bracelets or watch straps, adapting to a person’s lifestyle and allowing them to shop without a credit card. “In addition to contactless payment, access badge, and passwordless login, the main functions of a smartwatch, such as receiving notifications, are available,” commented Frollini. “Through the device, you can perform a one-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), monitor your heart rate, blood oxygenation (SpO2) and sports activities. Concerning the possibility of implementing it in existing solutions, Keyble was created with this in mind and can be easily integrated into various fashion accessories. In fact, you can wear it as a smart band or together with a traditional watch as a strap closure, thanks to our customized straps. We have several compatible accessories in the pipeline that will make Keyble even more integrable and versatile.” The device also features a microcontroller with secure BLE communication with our platform thanks to a dedicated processor, a Secure Element NFC, the set of biometric sensors mentioned above, and a color AMOLED display.

Biometrics and wearable technology

Payment with Keyble
Biometric technology consists of measurements and analysis of physiological and behavioral characteristics to identify and authenticate a person with certainty. These characteristics are fingerprint, voiceprint, iris structure, face geometry, vein pattern of the hands. The attractive element of the biometric modality to authenticate the person and to allow him/her to access places and services, is the uniqueness, that is, the non-duplicability, of the biometric characteristic, which cannot be stolen, duplicated, or forgotten, as it happens with keys, badges, pin codes, etc. The challenge of biometrics is not simply to replace traditional authentication with username and password but to enable new services in the name of user experience, security, and safety. The increasing demands on the security of accessories in terms of reliability and accessibility is driving the development of hardware and software technologies for the practical application of these technologies. “The challenges of cybersecurity and particularly in the world of wearables are growing,” said Frollini. “One only has to look at the succession of news stories about leaks of sensitive data. Our wearable offers the combination of hardware encryption and biometric authentication with a secure and scalable enrolment process that will allow the device to be used only by the real owner, verifying the identity locally and without connecting to the network. Communication with the outside world takes place via existing terminals such as POS or turnstiles for access via contactless or Bluetooth, so the partners’ systems communicate with our platform, which acts as a service enabler.” Biometric data cannot be counterfeited or duplicated. Their integration with behavioural data can add additional layers of security, ensuring protection and ease of use.

Keyble

Frollini explained that when Keyble was created, priorities were security, user-friendliness, and flexibility. Security is based on cryptography at the hardware level thanks to a Secure Element. Secure Element is basically the same chip used in credit cards but applied to mobile devices. All the user’s sensitive data (biometrics, payment card tokens, and access credentials) are stored, thus guaranteeing an unassailable system at both hardware and software levels. “The user’s identity is verified by means of biometric authentication, all communication takes place via contactless (NFC) or Bluetooth, and the devices can communicate securely with the companion application and the Flywallet Platform. From a cryptographic point of view, we support RSA, ECC, AES, and Triple-DES,” said Frollini. Any digital payment or service is exclusively enabled by scanning and verifying the user’s fingerprint, without the need for a PIN or password. “This is the key element of our biometric authentication. Alternatively, an authentication method based on heartbeat recognition is also available,” said Frollini. He added, “The process of enrolling biometric data on the wearable is carried out in a secure environment through the companion app and by verifying the identity of the user, thus ensuring that only the real owner can use Keyble, which is not guaranteed by smartphones, for example, which do not allow for a certain match between the owner and the stored biometric data.” Flywallet does not sell its devices directly to the public but distributes them through partners such as banks, e-money institutions, insurance companies, and businesses. “Each company can deliver digital services to its users from contactless payment to advanced vital signs monitoring to access control to company buildings,” said Frollini. “Flywallet’s distinguishing feature is the fact that it provides a high-tech device at an affordable cost that can be customized in terms of services through software upgrades and connection to partners’ IT systems via dedicated API connections to the Flywallet platform. Thanks to this, the user will be able to enjoy an ever-increasing number of services, evolving over time, encapsulated in a versatile device that can be inserted into various fashion accessories such as bracelets and watch straps.” Frollini pointed out that all major market standards used in the payment, multi-factor authentication, and access control industries are adopted. At launch, Keyble is compatible with EMVCo, FIDO 2, OATH and Mifare standards. Probably the real future of biometric authentication will be wearable for automatic authentication. In recent years, biometric technologies have progressed so much that they have found their way into a growing number of platforms and devices in a wide variety of applications.

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