Tech

iPhone 8 Facial Recognition Patent Locks And Unlocks Device Automatically

By Edge Ison , Mar 21, 2017 05:22 AM EDT
LONDON - OCTOBER 14: A 3D facial recognition program is demonstrated during the Biometrics 2004 exhibition and conference October 14, 2004 in London. The conference will examine the role of new technology such as facial recognition and retinal scans to determine identity to improve security. (Photo : Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

The much anticipated iPhone 8 will likely utilize facial recognition as hinted in a series of patents granted to Apple. A new patent, published on Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, indicates a technology that allows the device to lock and unlock automatically through facial recognition.

According to Apple Insider, the patent which is titled "Locking and unlocking a mobile device using facial recognition", is an improvement on a couple of patents that were granted to Apple last year and the year before that. The patent will enable the iPhone device to recognize the user's face with the help of its front-facing camera. Once the face is detected, the technology will determine if it belongs to the owner of the iPhone or not. The iPhone will unlock if it detects the face of the owner and will stay locked if it does not.

The technology will also be able to tell if the owner is not around. If the device stays motionless or hasn't been used for a specific amount of time and it doesn't detect the owner's face, it will lock automatically. When the device is in motion and its camera recognizes the owner's face, then it will unlock automatically. This takes away the need to type in a PIN or to use the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Forbes opined that the auto-locking and unlocking features will help do away with the annoying multi-step process of using iris and facial recognition. If this is the case, Apple's rumored plan to ditch the Touch ID finally makes sense. However, analysts such as Ming-Chi Kuo have predicted that the iPhone 8 will be utilizing a 3D laser sensor module. As a matter of fact, infrared sensors have been mentioned in the "claims" section of the patent. Another rumor states that Apple's anniversary smartphone will sport both facial recognition and the Touch ID sensor while another says acoustic imaging will be used instead of the two. As it stands, the use of facial recognition to lock and unlock the iPhone 8 automatically is nothing more than a rumor for now but it will most likely be featured in future iPhones.

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