The facial recognition technology has penetrated smartphones over the past few years. Though it has been there, Apple presented its iPhone X with 3D facial recognition and it made everyone crave for this technology in their phones. The technology has become rampant in smartphones for unlocking, security for payment through apps, and other purposes. The technology is advancing, and someone cannot trick the phone only with a photo of owner. The 3D scanning of face and recognizing whether it belongs to owner has been one of the crucial advances in the biometric technology. However, it is in the beginning stage and there is a vast scope for development. Along with Apple, its competitor Samsung has applied facial recognition technology in its Galaxy 8.
Apple launched iPhone X with facial recognition technology known as Face ID, which uses various sensors to map the face of a person in 3D. Then an infrared light falls on the face, a projector determines the array of infrared dots, compares them with an already stored image, and provides authentication. The company claimed that its feature has built with so much accuracy that it has probability of getting spoofed only one in million times. Moreover, the company trained the feature to watch out for 3D mask to avoid getting spoofed. Companies have been taking necessary measures to design a facial recognition feature to ensure safety of their devices. There will be more biometric technologies coming in smartphones.
Anil Jain, a professor at Michigan State University who has been studying biometric recognition and computer vision technology, outlined that Apple’s technology uses structured light to determine features in three dimensions. This technology was employed in 1980s for object recognition. As Apple has introduced this in their phones, it deserves an applause for implementing this technology in a nearly 6-inch smartphone. The accuracy of the technology depends on various factors including image of face at the time of authentication, light conditions, time between enrollment and verification, and presence of other objects on the face such as goggles or scarf. In an attempt to keep bad actors away, Apple claimed that the Face ID will determine the correct face in dark, with spectacles or hat, and after growing beard.
Many companies have been trying to include 3D facial recognition feature in their smartphones. There are two ways in which they are trying to accomplish that: first, by including a hardware in their smartphones or implementing a software-based facial recognition technology from other company.
Kevin Bowyer, a professor at University of Notre Dame who has been studying biometrics and object recognition, said, “Everyone’s still in the mode of copying what Apple did largely, and the 3-D does have the effect of wiping out simple spoofs—you can’t hold up a picture anymore and expect it to do anything.”
The advent of biometric technology has led manufacturers to expand the scope of features. Fingerprint recognition and iris recognition have been on the list of top features to include in smartphones. The Touch ID fingerprint sensing in iPhones uses several partial prints of same finger to improve its accuracy. A research conducted in collaboration by Michigan State University and New York University discovered that fingerprints can be spoofed by dummy prints. They outlined the need of using two or more biometric features to enhance safety. Iris scanning is another feature that can be included to improve accuracy of the facial recognition feature. The cost of development of such features is not high. Manufacturers can decide to use all three features together in their phones and let user decide which one they would prefer. The scenario is likely to take place in coming years.