Iris recognition gadget eliminates passwords

The EyeLock device scans your iris to confirm your identity, potentially eliminating the need to use old-fashioned passwords to log in to secure Web sites.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Imagine logging in to Facebook or eBay with just a blink of an eye. A new gadget for consumers may soon make that possible.

EyeLock will let you log into a Web site with the blink of an eye.
EyeLock will enable you to log in to a Web site with the blink of an eye. Hoyos Group

Designed by the Hoyos Group, a device called EyeLock uses iris-recognition as an alternative to passwords to log you in to password-protected Web sites and applications. Although similar eye-scanning devices are already used in the business and industrial markets, Hoyos calls EyeLock "the first and only portable iris-scanning device for consumers."

The scanning device, which resembles a wand, plugs into a base that connects to your PC via a USB port. After you install the software and choose the sites and applications that you want to iris-protect, you pass the scanner in front of your eye. A snapshot is taken of your iris to confirm your identity. Assuming you're the real you, you're then granted immediate access to the secure Web site or application.

With security always a primary concern, the company boasts that the device is unhackable.

"Every time you log in, it reads your iris and creates a unique key, which is a series of numbers, and this key changes every time you log in, so no one can hack it," Tracy Hoyos, assistant marketing director, said in an interview with CNN.

And despite what people may have seen in certain science-fiction films, the device will only work with a live person.

"If someone kills you, it won't work, because once you die your eye automatically flattens so your iris isn't the same," Tracy Hoyos told CNN.

The company hasn't yet revealed a launch date but said the EyeLock will sell for $99 once it hits the consumer market. Demonstrated at a tech show in San Francisco on Tuesday, the EyeLock employs the same technology that Hoyos uses in its portfolio of more advanced iris-scanning products for government agencies and corporations.

"Iris-based systems guarantee a level of security and identity protection that is unparalleled by any other biometric, password encrypted or card-based system in existence today," Jeff Carter, chief business development officer of Hoyos, said in a statement.