Learn how gesture recognition with embedded battery-free sensors can help improve security and privacy issues in authentication with passive UHF RFID systems.

It’s already been a while posting in this blog. We’ve had surprising things coming up, funny developments going on and basically lots of sensor and actuator solutions that are wireless and battery-free.

Today I wanted to bring attention to something I just learnt about. A group of researchers have been working on it for some time now. It is still under research but I really enjoyed it so I thought it could be a good idea to share with all of you.

Joan Melia Seguí has been leading a research line around adding value to passive UHF RFID systems. Human-object interaction detection is one of the main research lines in conjunction with machine learning techniques. You can read more about it here or check his personal website at http://joan.melia.cat.

UHF RFID security

We all know passive UHF RFID does not include strong security algorithms. The idea of having a long range communication device with no battery at all makes it difficult to implement good security algorithms – there’s just not enough energy to process data.

As a result, passive UHF RFID tags are not suitable for applications where security and privacy are a critical requirement.

Including sensors to improve authentication with passive UHF RFID

Joan’s team has been using sensors to increase security and privacy in passive UHF RFID. I’m bringing here their work on gesture recognition based on battery-free accelerometer tags.

The idea is to use the tag’s unique ID and a specific gesture in association for the user authentication the same way you would use a password. This is not new – gesture recognition has been tested in SmartPhones for example – but entirely new to the passive UHF RFID systems.

Gesture recognition with battery-free accelerometers

Gesture recognition with battery-free accelerometers

By using a Kineo tag, they created a set of figures to be completed by the user. The unique ID plus the gesture recognition provides the system with an authentication method that prevents impersonation attacks such as ‘man in the middle’.

Click here to access the complete Final Project by Juan Carlos Horno Murillo dealing with battery-free passive UHF RFID tag gesture recognition.

In case you are interested in further information or collaboration in this research line you can contact Joan Melia at melia@uoc.edu.