Passwords are for suckers. Nuance Dragon ID uses voice recognition to unlock phone features

June 5, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka



Nuance has unveiled a feature that doesn’t ask users to make a gesture, key in some numbers, or even show their pretty faces. Instead, it asks only that you speak and be heard.

Nuance’s DragonID forgoes the familiar mobile security methods and makes it so “your voice is your password.” The feature, currently being pitched to OEM’s, uses voice analysis to recognize a user and grant access. It verifies voice signatures and can then unlock a phone or even a mobile wallet application. Anyone not matching the signature will then be shut out.

Dragon ID is more that just an unlocking mechanism, however. It also joins the crowded virtual assistant space by answering questions and issuing commands. A user can say, “Hello, Dragon, do I have any messages?” and the app will confirm how many are available. It also replies to questions about the weather, meetings, launches apps, and pays for your lunch according to the demo video below.

“Consumer devices and the experiences they deliver are incredibly personal – and with that comes a need for greater security. Nuance’s innovative Dragon ID further humanizes the mobile experience, leveraging a person’s unique voice to secure and access their device, and keeping the content they rely on each day private and personal.”

- Michael Thompson, executive vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile.

Voice authentication can even be applied to multiple users, so a child who uses a parent’s tablet could say “Hello, Dragon” and unlock the phone without needing Mom or Dad. Dragon ID would then launch a personalized home screen with apps, games, and settings tailor-made for a specific person.

All of this sounds very interesting and exciting until you hear that Nuance will not release Dragon ID directly to consumers. Instead, the company will work with manufacturers to integrate Dragon ID into their software. There’s no word on which companies will implement it or when, but one can only hope that it will find its way into some Android devices soon.

Supported languages include English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.