Secret Handshake

In a world dominated by passwords, PIN numbers, and other alphanumeric keys, how can anyone possibly remember all of their (hopefully unique) passwords and stay secure? The answer is, they can't. The five most popular passwords in 2014, according to a SplashData report, were "123456", "password", "12345", "12345678" and "qwerty". Oh my.

But what if we didn't need to remember our complicated passwords? What if our access to our most precious things was by a secret handshake? I'm sure you all have that best friend or two or five, and a best friendship isn't complete without a secret handshake. You wouldn't dare forget this handshake, lest jeopardize your friendship. We imagine a future where your connection with your online accounts, banks, and secure physical locations is just as fun and easy to use as a secret handshake with your best friend.


This prototype of Secret Handshake is available as a web application, and requires a Myo Armband and the Myo Connect application to be installed on your computer. When you browse to the app, you can either calibrate a handshake of your own, or attempt to authenticate a saved handshake. Your saved handshakes are stored in the cloud and accessible from anywhere.

Our journey to Secret Handshake

When we set out to create a Myo Armband based authentication system, we originally thought that the electrical signals from your muscles would be as unique as your fingerprints. That is, although everyone can make a fist, the specific signals read from your arm would be different than anybody else making a fist. This assumption turned out to be false. Human muscles are, in fact, very similar across many people, and it's relatively easy to mimic someone else's electrical signals just by thinking about how strongly you're flexing your muscles. Rather than give up, we combined the easy-to-use nature of the Myo Armband with traditional social values (handshakes!) to create a twist on the classic password system. Users can create their own custom sequences of muscle movements, so although the movements themselves are not unique, the handshake the user creates is. We hope you enjoy shaking hands with your technology as much as we do.

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