The New Wave of Driver Authentication: Butt Recognition

car seat

It was used in Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, in the Schwarzenegger movie Total Recall and in countless sci-fi books and movies: some kind of anatomy-based identification. Usually it involves hand- or fingerprint ID, or sometimes a scan of the eyeball, but whatever it is gains access to a secret room.

Never has a person’s posterior, that I know of, been used as a way to verify identity.

Researchers in Japan, though, think they’ve figured out a way, and the application could end up in the driver’s seats of Japanese-made cars sooner than you’d think.

According to Tech Crunch, researchers at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo have come up with a car seat that measures the precise contours and pressures left by your rear end.

car seatButtprints (which is a term the researchers didn’t use but that seems appropriate) are evidently a pretty decent way to identify people. The seat is comprised of a system of 360 separate sensors, which measure pressure. Those sensors communicate with a laptop to put together a precise 3-D map of the seated person, which ends up looking like a relief of the Himalayas. The researchers say the system can correctly identify people with 98% accuracy–not too bad!

The team is hoping to work with Japanese car manufacturers to implement the system as an added security measure, possibly in as little as two or three years.

There’s no word on what happens if you want a friend to drive your car, accidentally sit down with a wallet in your back pocket or gain 10 pounds due to irresponsible consumption of Christmas goodies.

If it ends up as a system that can be turned on and off, it actually seems like a decent security measure to keep your car from being stolen. Which is a good thing as hackers are getting better and better at gaining entrance to modern cars.

Is buttprint identification a good idea? Keep the jokes clean, please!


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  1. This is as fantastic as it is plain stupid. Brilliant but ridiculous. It’s so damn silly it could work. As long as we don’t ever have to ‘fart-to-start.’

  2. Ah, the Japanese. So many gadgets, so few useful purposes. I suppose the next big gadget will also sniff your butt, and will be called the FIDOS. Fanny Identification- Digital Olfactory Sensing. Woof Woof.

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