Researchers at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation have developed a new method of using gait for both authentication and powering wearables.The team, from the body’s Data61 section, has been working with kinetic energy harvesting (KEH) and accelerometer sampling.The idea was that if humans have unique walking patterns, then the corresponding patterns of harvested power from KEH should be unique too.Data61 researcher Sara Khalifa said, “By applying both techniques we have developed a way to achieve two goals at once – powering devices and the ability to verify a person’s identity using a wearable device by capturing the energy generated from the way they walk.”The researchers conducted a trial on 20 users to evaluate the security of KEH gait authentication. Data was collected from each user using two different settings from various environments. Users walked in several environments including indoor on carpet and outdoor on grass and asphalt terrains to capture the natural gait changes over time and surfaces.In the trials, KEH-Gait achieved an authentication accuracy of 95% and reduced energy consumption by 78%, compared to conventional accelerometer-based authentication techniques.The KEH-Gait system was also tested against 'attackers’ who attempted to imitate an individual’s motions. The analysis found only 13 out of 100 imposter trials were wrongfully accepted by the system as genuine trials.However, the technology achieved approximately 6% lower accuracy compared to accelerometer based gait recognition. But then the researchers demonstrated that authentication accuracy can be increased to that of accelerometer-based gait detection by using a method, called Multi-Step Sparse Representation Classification (MSSRC), which exploits the information from multiple steps.Group Leader of the Networks Research Group at Data61 Professor Dali Kafaar said highlighted the benefits of the KEH-Gait approach compared to passwords, pins, signatures and finger prints, saying, “It’s more secure than passwords because the way we walk is difficult to mimic. Since the KEH-gait keeps authenticating the user continuously, it collects a significant amount of information about our movements, making it difficult to imitate or hack unlike guessing passwords or pin codes.”