One or more biometric indicia, such as fingerprints, voice prints, retinal scans, and facial features, are often used to identify or authenticate the identity of a user seeking access to a given resource. Cardiac muscle is myogenic and is capable of generating an action potential and depolarizing and repolarizing signals from within the muscle. An intrinsic conduction system (ICS), a group of specialized cardiac cells, passes an electrical signal throughout the heart as a PQRST (Preview, Question, Read, Study, Test) signature.

A method and associated system was developed for authenticating or declining to authenticate an identity asserted by a person. The heartbeat system is a biometric technique to verify someone’s identity, and can be used for replacing an individual’s PC password or accessing a bank account.

The system identifies a person based on the use of statistical parameters, peak amplitudes and/or time interval lengths, and/or depolarization-repolarization vector angles and/or lengths for PQRST electrical signals associated with heart waves. The statistical parameters, estimated to number at least 192, serve as biometric indicia to authenticate an identity.

There are three online modes of operation: enrollment, verification, and identification, as well as two offline modes of statistics and settings. In enrollment, the raw electrocardiography (ECG) signal is processed and the results in the form of parameters are serialized and saved. Verification and identification procedures use the feature parameters for recognition of subjects based on the same kind of parameters of heartbeats extracted from the ECG signal of a person to be verified or identified.

The system has the ability to identify if a subject is already in the database. In addition, it features portability to mobile platforms.

This work was done by Charles C. Jorgensen, Sorin V. Dusan, and John F. Schipper of Ames Research Center; and Eugene Belousof. NASA invites companies to inquire about partnering opportunities and licensing this patented technology. Contact the Ames Technology Partnerships Office at 1-855-627-2249 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Refer to ARC-16373-1.