What if you could unlock your smartphone with your earbuds instead of your face?

Sort of like two-factor authentication for your smartphone.

Think of it. The situation’s been perfectly set up. FaceID or facial recognition seems counter-intuitive now, considering everyone’s wearing masks, and there’s little chance companies are going to embrace a fingerprint sensor on the phone again for quite a while. This solution, by Alvaro Navarro, seems perfect for a lot of reasons. A. It’s absolutely convenient, because truly wireless earbuds already have touch sensors on them. B. It’s easy to implement too, and can work with practically any smartphone. C. It could be a great business model, allowing companies to push out more earbuds as a result (good design and good business don’t always intersect though), and D. It could be a much more secure way of unlocking your phone.

A lot of IT professionals use hardware authentication USB devices like the YubiKey to unlock their laptops, as an alternative to passwords. What if the earbud could provide the same service for your smartphone? No face recognition, no PIN numbers, no patterns. Just tap your ear and your phone unlocks. How’s it more secure? Well, for starters you’re using your fingerprint for authentication, and the second layer of security comes from the fact that your phone AND earphone need to be in proximity (and connected) for it to work. Not sure what impact it would have on the earbud’s battery, but it definitely feels like an idea worth considering, no?

Designer: Alvaro Navarro