Feeds

Apple patents facial recognition tech for mobile log-in

Handsets could display information and unlock by staring at your mug

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Apple has been granted a patent on techniques for unlocking a device based on facial recognition.

US Patent number 8,600,120, "Personal computing device control using face detection and recognition," describes a system in which a device is able to access its camera and authorize access based on recognizing your face.

In addition to security authentication, the patent describes a system which is able to analyze your face and then display relevant data such as recent calls or received messages for your accounts.

Apple face-recognition patent illustration

Your phone will look you in the eye and know if a 'screw driver how to' is relevant to you

Similarly, the device could be instructed to lock itself down and not display any information about received or incoming calls and messages, should the face of the current user not match that of the device's owner or authorized users.

Apple says in the patent that its aim is to eliminate the need for users to manually interact with a device in order to be recognized and authenticated. The company notes that its technology could help to eliminate the need for users to constantly "remind" their device that it is in use.

"One problem with existing personal computing devices is that such devices often perform certain functions regardless of whether users are passively interfacing with the devices," Apple writes.

"In other words, personal computer devices are not able to determine whether a non-active or passive user is present and, subsequently, are unable to perform certain operations to accommodate the passive user."

It should be noted that patents are far from a guarantee that new technologies will be offered in a device. Vendors will often patent technologies in broad strategic or precautionary moves, with many of the referred-to technologies never making it past the research and development phase.

Apple does, however, have something of a reputation for taking action when it believes its patents have been infringed – to put it mildly. The company has embroiled itself in a global battle with Android device vendors over what it has claimed are blatant infringements on Apple patents by hardware makers. The effort, famously described by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs as "thermonuclear war," has sought penalties and outright bans on multiple Android devices.

The company recently claimed victory in the US when a court found that infringements by Samsung should lead to a $290m legal penalty in Apple's favor. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.