USF Professors Look to Commercialize Here I Am Voice Alibi Technology

Researchers at the University of South Florida are licensing a patented technology that can confirm individuals' identities and locations using their voices.

The technology, dubbed "Here I am," creates a digital certificate on the user's mobile device.The certificate can be used for authentication in a variety of scenarios, such as employee accountability, protection for victims of domestic abuse, and criminal justice.

Here I Am users initiate the requests to generate authentication certificates. Users are then prompted to read a message out loud. While reading, their devices record their voices, which are paired by a server with the date, time and precise location data.

The app comes in the following three categories:

  • Solo, where individuals voluntarily choose to authenticate themselves;
  • Parent-child, where the parent or organization sends notifications to children or employees to authenticate themselves; and
  • Ambient, where users elect to have the app automatically authenticate their locations every few minutes.

The goal is to license the technology directly to telecom providers so they can then offer it to companies to integrate into their own apps, such as ride-sharing services.

The application is the brainchild of USF computer science and engineering professor Sriram Chellappan and USF information systems and management professor Balaji Padmanabhan.

"Most location authentication technologies today mainly authenticate a device, such as a phone, but not the user. Nothing like this exists," Padmanabhan said in a statement. "If companies with reliable location identification can offer this as a service, then individual users can easily generate their own authentication as needed and companies, such as ridesharing platforms and financial institutions, can integrate the technology directly into their apps for their employees as an extra layer of protection."

"The demand to certifiably authenticate a person or an asset at a particular location at any point in time has immense value, that is yet to see the dawn of day," Chellappan said in the statement. "Our technology enables just that and could be a game-changer to the immense diversity of practical applications."

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