Seeing Red: PPG Biometrics Using Smartphone Cameras

15 Apr 2020  ·  Giulio Lovisotto, Henry Turner, Simon Eberz, Ivan Martinovic ·

In this paper, we propose a system that enables photoplethysmogram (PPG)-based authentication by using a smartphone camera. PPG signals are obtained by recording a video from the camera as users are resting their finger on top of the camera lens. The signals can be extracted based on subtle changes in the video that are due to changes in the light reflection properties of the skin as the blood flows through the finger. We collect a dataset of PPG measurements from a set of 15 users over the course of 6-11 sessions per user using an iPhone X for the measurements. We design an authentication pipeline that leverages the uniqueness of each individual's cardiovascular system, identifying a set of distinctive features from each heartbeat. We conduct a set of experiments to evaluate the recognition performance of the PPG biometric trait, including cross-session scenarios which have been disregarded in previous work. We found that when aggregating sufficient samples for the decision we achieve an EER as low as 8%, but that the performance greatly decreases in the cross-session scenario, with an average EER of 20%.

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