Apple Awarded Patent Detailing Facial Detection and Recognition System for Devices

Apple has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider) for a system that allows for a personal computing device such as a Mac or iPhone to be controlled through facial detection and recognition, primarily for security and convenience purposes.

The patent, which was filed back in 2008, introduces itself by describing the problem with the interaction between users and current electronics, stating that devices such as computers inconvenience the user by requiring action in order to continue operating without interruption, along with detailing the security hazard that comes with the inability of passwords to detect a truly authorized user.

apple_face_detection_flow
The facial recognition and detection system is broken up into three separate parts, and includes a face detection decision application, a face recognition application, and an input/output control manager, all working with an image sensor to determine whether a user is authorized to control a device.

In a further aspect, a personal media device includes an image sensor that captures one or more images. The device includes a data store having at least one known face pattern that is associated with an authorized user of the media device. The device includes a processor that detects one or more faces in the captured images, recognizes at least one of faces as the face of the authorized user by comparing the one or faces with the data store, and controlling the operation of an application of the device in response to recognizing at least one of the faces as the face of the authorized user.

An incoming phone call is cited as an example scenario that could benefit from a facial recognition and detection system, with the system keeping the screen off and only giving off a ringtone or vibration alert if a user is not authorized compared to displaying a normal call screen for an authorized user. The same principle is applied to an incoming email, where a message can be hidden if an unauthorized user is detected.

The patent also details a number of examples as to what information the facial detection and recognition system cites in authorizing users, with information such as visual facial features and background being matched up against stored information to determine whether control of a device can be accessed or not.

It is unknown exactly how or even whether Apple plans to utilize this technology in its products, but competitors such as Samsung and Google have already touted simple facial recognition as key features in their products. Apple also recently completed its acquisition of 3D body sensing firm PrimeSense, and while the system detailed in the patent differs from the firm's image sensing technology, both could be used as part of a bigger initiative by Apple to better integrate human recognition into its products.

This is also not the first time evidence of Apple's interest in face recognition has surfaced, with other patent applications addressing similar concepts while the company acquired Swedish face recognition firm Polar Rose back in 2010.

Tag: Patent

Top Rated Comments

Alumeenium Avatar
114 months ago
You're late on your taxes, iPhone will remained locked :eek:
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
8281 Avatar
114 months ago
Soooo...facial recognition research, but we still can't run two apps at the same time on an iPad.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tuxon86 Avatar
114 months ago
Well, now the NSA will have confirmation of who is really using the device they are spying on for sure...
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chaosbunny Avatar
114 months ago
I hope this feature needs to permanently connect to Apples Servers to work and will offer a direct upload to the NSA or else it wouldn't make sense.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThisIsNotMe Avatar
114 months ago
Hello NSA? They will know what you look like..lol.

They already know what you look like.........
Its called Facebook or Linkedin.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheHateMachine Avatar
114 months ago
A 2D face sensor can easily be defeated with a printed picture of the authorized face.

Doing this in 3D would be interesting (then you need a very convincing mask or something to fool it...), but that's not what was patented here. Interesting the patent took so long (and was granted! It's so obvious / unoriginal / so many people have already done it, what on earth is there left to patent?)

The face unlock on Android can be setup to require a blink and/or a voice and thus printed pictures are defeated.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Purple

Apple Planning to Hold iPhone 14 Event on September 7

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:51 am PDT by
Apple is aiming to hold its first fall event on Wednesday, September 7, reports Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The event will focus on the iPhone 14 models and the Apple Watch Series 8. The standard iPhone 14 models are expected to get few changes, but the iPhone 14 Pro models will include updated camera technology, the removal of the notch in favor of a pill-shaped and hole-punch cutout, an A16...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.6.1 and iPadOS 15.6.1 With Bug Fixes

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:50 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 15.6.1, minor updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems initially released in September 2021. iOS 15.6.1 and iPadOS 15.6.1 come a month after Apple released iOS 15.6 and iPadOS 15.6 with new Live Sports features and bug fixes. The iOS 15.6.1 and iPadOS 15.6.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices...
10th Generation iPad Render

10th-Generation iPad With Major Design Changes Reportedly in Production Ahead of September Launch

Monday August 15, 2022 8:02 pm PDT by
Apple's rumored 10th-generation iPad is currently in production and will feature "major" design changes, according to a report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes. A mockup of the potential 10th-generation iPad design by Renders By Shailesh The report did not provide any specific details about the 10th-generation iPad's new design, but rumors suggest the device will feature a larger 10.5-inch...
airpods pro black background

AirPods Pro 2: Five New Features and Improvements to Expect

Sunday August 14, 2022 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect. In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year. H2 Chip ...
Apple Watch Series 3 v 8 1

Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Apple Watch Series 8: 20 Major New Features and Changes for Customers Upgrading

Tuesday August 16, 2022 6:52 am PDT by
It's crazy to think about, but next month will mark five years since Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3. Despite being a severely antiquated smartwatch, the Series 3 has remained at the bottom of Apple's lineup for $199. Suppose you're still holding on to your Apple Watch Series 3. In that case, this article will list all the major new features and changes you'll get if you decide to...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday August 15, 2022 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming a week after Apple released the fifth developer betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. iOS 16 introduces a revamped Lock...