iPhone X Face ID taps machine learning to learn who you are

Brittany A. Roston - Sep 12, 2017
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iPhone X Face ID taps machine learning to learn who you are

Apple is taking security to the next level with the introduction of Face ID, a more secure alternative to Touch ID that enables iPhone owners to keep their handset secure. With this technology, an iPhone owner can just look at their phone and it will unlock, no other interaction needed. This feature works with third-party apps (Mint, etc), enabling it to protect data found elsewhere on your phone, as well.

While Samsung faced backlash over the lackluster security of its own facial recognition tech, Apple has gone all-out to ensure it won’t be easy for someone to authenticate your phone without your permission. At the core of that ability is the use of machine learning algorithms able to learn who you are. Even if you put your hair up or let it down, put on glasses, and more, the software will be able to recognize you, and it’ll get better at it over time.

Face your phone, look at it, and swipe up to get into your handset. It is that simple, but the simplicity is deceptive. Apple calls this the future of unlocking a smartphone, and it is made possible via a variety of hardware, including an infrared camera and a front-facing camera, plus a dot projector and a flood illuminator. The dot projector projects 30k infrared dots onto the user’s face when they stare at their phone.

Apple has tapped multiple neural networks for this feature, and it doesn’t shy away from discussing how secure Face ID is. While Touch ID has a 1 in 50,000 change that a random person could unlock the phone, Face ID brings that number up to a huge 1 in 1,000,000. The only thing that can easily foil the software, says Apple, is if you have an identical twin.

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