Trust Your Laughter

Science Fields

Biometric identification technology has become an indispensable element of modern security systems and a part of our daily lives. Perhaps the best example is our mobile phones that automatically unlock by recognizing our faces or fingerprint. More interesting examples we see in movies and books, if not in our immediate surroundings (yet), include retinal scanning, DNA matching, and tone verification. Research published in the International Journal of Biometrics in 2020 proves that a slightly different approach is also possible: laughter recognition.

Biometrics, which means biological measurement, defines the unique physical characteristics of individuals. Such features can be identified and recognized by automated systems to create various security barriers. While fingerprints are the most common example, quite a number of unique physical features can be used for this purpose: our DNA (Gattaca), facial features (Fifth Element, Robocop), iris and retina (Minority Report, Star Trek), the way we walk (Mission Impossible 5), palm structure (Alien), voice (Space Odyssey), our scent, the shape of our ear, the way we type on the keyboard, and our newly added way of laughing.

Using statistical analysis of the sound frequencies a person makes while laughing, the researchers were able to create a unique digital trace of that person’s laughter. The prototype recognition algorithm they prepared showed a 90% success rate. Therefore, artificial intelligence systems that can identify a person’s laughter could be used in various applications.

Although fingerprint is still the most common biometric used today, there are ways to deceive security systems that rely on this feature. For example, the fingerprint of a person with security clearance can be replicated by using a mold and transferring the print to play dough, creating a means to unlock mobile phones with a little effort. Of course, digital security companies are aware of this and are developing various technologies to prevent such security breaches. We don’t know whether laughter signature will be one of them in the near future, but wouldn’t it be pretty fun to unlock your mobile phone with spontaneous laughter?


  • 1. https://techxplore.com/news/2020-07-laughter-unique-biometric-signature.html
  • 2. https://www.dhs.gov/biometrics
  • 3. https://www.biometricsinstitute.org/what-is-biometrics/types-of-biometrics/
  • 4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342949854_Laughter_signature_a_novel_biometric_trait_for_person_identification