Forget all those user names and passwords. Instead, your iris is scanned and saved and used as a biomorphic identifier. Science fiction? The launch of Myris, an iris identity authenticator designed by frog for Eyelock, makes it very real. Project co-leaders Jason Severs, Executive Creative Director, and Dino Sanchez, Creative Director, spoke with design mind about how the iris has the potential to become the gateway to our digital world.
Jason: There is a perception of mistrust and abuse of power when it comes to human screening techniques. They might seem frightening because we think of them as invasive, especially with retinal screening, which shoots directly into the eye, and with fingerprint technology. But iris identification using Myris is different: the device is essentially a camera that takes a video image of the iris in a split second. You don’t feel a thing. It’s a simple experience, like looking into a mirror – there is, in fact, a convex mirror in the device that frames the user’s face for the camera.
Jason: The iris is unique. No two are the same, and this makes it more secure as a biomorphic identifier. Next to DNA, there is nothing more unique about you. And the iris can’t be hacked, like we have seen happening with recent fingerprint technology on cellphones. That was hailed as the next great security standard but is proving easy to spoof.
Dino: We wanted Myris to be as small and compact as possible, to be unobtrusive whether in a mobile or desktop configuration. It’s round, with a triangle mapped on top of a circle, so you can hold it easily with your index finger and thumb. The front face has the camera eye, situated behind the glass but unseen to the user. It doesn’t look or feel like a probe or a scanner, but more like a viewfinder. There is a balance between friendly and serious in the forms, shapes and materials. We wanted to convey the idea of a device that reads your iris, which is very personal, but won’t hurt you. It performs an important security function, but it’s not a game. Instead of copying the sleek look of most smart phones, like so many devices do, Myris needed to have an iconic form that identifies with iris identification.
Dino: We wanted to simplify biometrics, because iris authentication is a simple experience. You just have to look at something. It had to be fast and painless to sign in and easy enough to navigate without expert assistance. In particular, the quality of enrollment – signing in and getting started – is critical to the end-user experience, so we made the dashboard or launch pad screen easy to boot and manage multiple accounts. It doesn’t ask too much of the user, who actually takes the iris picture. Just look in the camera. Like taking a selfie.
Jason: There are many possible applications for individual users: to unlock your computer, phone, home or car, and to gain access to networks and social media, to recover lost digital files, and for “trusted transactions” like banking. It’s great for people who can’t keep track of their many user names and passwords, which probably means most of us.