Taming Irregular Cardiac Signals for Biometric Identification

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Cardiac patterns are being used to provide hard-to-forge biometric signatures in identification applications. However, this performance is obtained under controlled scenarios where cardiac signals maintain a relatively uniform pattern, facilitating the identification process. In this work, we analyze cardiac signals collected in more realistic (uncontrolled) scenarios and show that their high signal variability makes them harder to obtain stable and distinct features. When faced with these irregular signals, the state-of-the-art (SOTA) reduces its performance significantly. To solve these problems, we propose the CardioID framework1 with two novel properties. First, we design an adaptive method that achieves stable and distinct features by tailoring the filtering process according to each user’s heart rate. Second, we show that users can have multiple cardiac morphologies, offering us a bigger pool of cardiac signals compared to the SOTA. Considering three uncontrolled datasets, our evaluation shows two main insights. First, while using a PPG sensor with healthy individuals, the SOTA’s balanced accuracy (BAC) reduces from 90–95% to 75–80%, while our method maintains a BAC above 90%. Second, under more challenging conditions (using smartphone cameras or monitoring unhealthy individuals), the SOTA’s BAC reduces to values between 65–75%, and our method increases the BAC to values between 75–85%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
Number of pages26
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • authentication
  • biometric identification
  • Irregular cardiac signals
  • uncontrolled scenarios


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