Apple patent describes a more secure face-recognition system

May 11, 2012

An Apple face-recognition patent shows how 3-D imaging could provide for better system security (credit: Free Patents Online)

A new Apple patent application suggests what face-recognition technology might enable, Wired Gadget Lab reports.

The patent, “3D Object Recognition,” describes a novel way to generate 3-D models using 2-D images. It would use multiple photos or video to create a robust 3-D representation of a user’s face, which could then be compared, on the fly, to a 3-D representation built in real time from a 2-D image captured from a user’s phone.

The system has obvious applications in system security — namely, a home screen unlocking mechanism that’s not easily fooled. It could also be used to identify an entire body, or employed in medical applications to identify specific organs, or even tumors.

Another Apple patent application dealing with facial recognition discussed a lower-power-intensive way to identify a device owner when he or she approaches the system. And, of course, Apple already employs face detection for identifying people in iPhoto images, but doesn’t use the feature for system security in iOS.