So the concept of mobile face scanning to verify our identity is slowing becoming less of a concept that we only see in futuristic movies and more of a reality and that reality is likely approaching sooner than most of us necessarily thought .
Can you explain the tech behind mobile phone face scanning and how it actually works?
Yes, so they are calling this 3-D face scanning technology “Depth Sensing Technology” and if you ever played with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect adapter or use the face detection called Windows Hello built into Windows 10 you have a good idea of how it is implemented. Only now this technology has been miniaturized to fit into a mobile phone.
It works by projecting an array of dots, in the form of infrared light, something we can’t see, and then it uses the phone’s camera to check for the distortion within those field of infrared dots and so that way, when it is looking at your face it doesn’t just see your face it sees a very accurate 3-D map of your face. This will then offer very accurate face recognition using your phone which will provide another type of biometric scanning option increasing security on your devices.
These are not foreign concepts as we see some of these elements of this technology already implemented in Microsoft devices and past Android phones. That said, it seems like these companies have made some progressive strides as of late?
Yeah, I’d be surprised if we didn’t’ see this technology in the next iPhone when it is rumored that Apple will be releasing both the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus along with a high end 10th Anniversary phone that is rumored to have this type of 3-D face scanning technology in it. I would estimate that within 6-8 months you will probably see this type of technology in other flagship phones and within the next year it will be just as standard as the fingerprint scanner is now and it will probably end up being the most common way you unlock you phone.
So it looks like 3-D face scanning technology will have a lot of selling points because of such elevated levels of cyber security it would appear that facial recognition might make your personal data more secure?
For sure. Anytime you can add another security level to protect and verify your identity that would be very beneficial. Today, many people still rely just on simply passwords that can be hacked much faster than a person’s fingerprint or face scan. If you add in the fact that you could use have both your finger and face to be scanned before logging into your bank account or making an online payment (which would be called multi-factor authentication) then you have a very fast and secure process to keep your data protected.
Would there be any disadvantages to this type of technology?
So, many security researchers are saying that if your fingerprints or face scan (which is your biometrics) can be duplicated or hacked then it might prove almost impossible to change them unlike using a password. That said, companies who are making these biometric scanning technologies like Qualcomm and Intel say they have it designed such that it can’t be hacked claiming they have what they call “Liveness Detection” so you can’t just print out a 3-D picture or acquire a fingerprint to unlock your phone . The same goes for identical twins with regard to this new Facial Depth Sensing, as this technology seems to be able to tell them apart.
That said, time will tell how this new biometric scanning technology will hold up to hackers or people looking to undermine the system.