Apple patent hints at facial recognition security update for iOS

May 11, 2012

A new Apple patent has surfaced that hints iOS may be getting a facial recognition security update. The patent is titled "3-D Object Recognition" and is said to describe a new way to generate 3-D facial models using 2-D images. The patent was originally filed by a firm called Polar Rose from Sweden that Apple purchased in 2010.

The patent is very interesting and talks about a way to use multiple photos or video to create a 3-D representation of the user's face. Once that 3-D representation was created and stored, it can then be compared on the fly to person's face in real-time using 2-D images captured by the phone. The most basic use of the system would be an automatic unlocking feature for the iPhone home screen needing no passwords.

The system could be used for numerous other duties as well including some interesting medical aspects. This patent isn't the only one Apple has in play for facial recognition and security. Apple also has a patent application that has to do with facial recognition showing a low power way to identify a person's face when they approach the device. The patent outlines a way to get around problems with lighting when the face is scanned. The workarounds include things like analyzing features such as corners and special reference points. Presumably, that means things such as the distance between the eyes and the angle of the chin.

[via Wired]

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