Hot on the heels of the failure of the fingerprint security problem with the iPhone, Apple has recently been granted a patent by the USPO that uses facial recognition technology to control a computing device, such as, an iPhone, iPad or Mac, allowing for a more secure and productive operating environment.
Apple was issued a patent by the USPO on Tuesday (see AppleInsider) that describes a system for using facial recognition and detection on a mobile or desktop computing device. Reports say that this could work a lot like the Android face-unlock option, which has been criticized for its fallibility. It is also designed to prompt activity and uses facial expressions as input for controlling the device.
This technology could be used not only to protect data on an iPhone in a locked state, but also to determine how much information is shared on the lock screen for a user.
If a person receives an incoming call and their iPhone recognizes them then the caller ID and information from the user’s contacts app will be displayed. If the caller is not someone the phone has listed as a user of the device, it’ll block all that data. Also, with emails or messages, it could potentially scrub the content of any actual info until there’s a positive recognition match for the rightful user.
In a desktop computing environment, the recognition might be used to analyze user behavior over time as they sit in front of their Mac, determining when to trigger actions, such as, screen savers, enter a movie mode, or switch audio devices in preparation for a something like a Skype call.
I mentioned in a recent post that Apple has just acquired PrimeSense, the Israeli company that helped create the original Microsoft Keinect’s motion sensing capabilities, so it’s possible to link the two, although the Apple patent pre-dates the deal.
This technology, however, could provide a way to permit users access to things like Siri from the lock-screen without compromising privacy at the same time be able to use some of the assistant’s more useful convenience features.