BINGHAMTON, NY – The National Science Foundation has awarded $900,000 in grant funding to researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York to continue investigations into the next-generation of brain biometric technology.

The project, "Brain Hacking: Assessing Psychological and Computational Vulnerabilities in Brain-based Biometrics," will investigate security vulnerabilities of brainprint biometrics and particularly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of brain biometrics, according to principal investigator Zhanpeng Jin, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University.

The project is a cross-disciplinary, cross-institution collaboration. Sarah Laszlo, associate professor of psychology at Binghamton University, is a co-principal investigator, along with Wenyao Xu from the University at Buffalo’s Computer Science and Engineering Department.

"Content of the work will allow us to strengthen our understanding of the unique cognitive and psychological secret of the human brain, and apply this new knowledge into increasingly vulnerable cyberspace," Jin said.

The four-year grant, which started in September, totals roughly $1.2 million, but is split between Binghamton and Buffalo, a fellow SUNY institution.

The funding follows up on a 2014 NSF grant of roughly $500,000 that the team also split with Buffalo for a project titled "Brain Password: Exploring A Psychophysiological Approach for Secure User Authentication." That project focused on a new psychophysiological approach for user authentication via non-volitional components of brainwave responses, in other words identifying a person by measuring their brain’s response to different stimuli, named "brainprint."

The original work was covered extensively in national media—including National Geographic, the NSF, The Washington Post, and The Verge—and named by the BBC’s Science Focus Magazine as one of "22 ideas about to change our world."