Intel buys heartbeat biometrics company Idesia

Intel has acquired biometrics company Idesia Biometrics for an undisclosed amount.

Idesia, which is based in Israel, provides technology through which heart beats can be used to recognise users on PCs and mobile devices. The technology can also be used to provide health information.

The news was first reported by Globes, an online business publication in Israel. Intel declined to comment on how much it paid for Idesia or how it will use the biometric technology. Idesia's website is now inaccessible.

Fingerprint readers and face recognition have been used for some time to recognise users, but there are concerns that those technologies can be easily tricked, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

Monitoring heart beats could provide Intel a more advanced and secure way to recognise users, Brookwood said.

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"Intel is very worried about security. That's one of their major thrusts," Brookwood said. "If Idesia has something unique, then Intel could possibly create a relatively easy sensor that could go into a smartphone or tablet that could monitor the heartbeat."

It is highly unlikely that the technology acquired from Idesia would go into the next microprocessor, Brookwood said. However, Intel has a crack team of processor developers in Israel that could make good use of this technology.

Intel's Israel team developed the architecture behind the popular Core and Core 2 microprocessors, and the country's operations are headed by Mooly Eden, who previously managed the PC client group at Intel.

Intel has a big interest in the health care industry and is in a joint venture with General Electric to provide in-home heath care products. The joint venture, called Care Innovations, provides products like tablets targeted at the health care industry. Intel is also conducting research on health care for senior citizens.