Apple applies for iOS face and presence detection patent

The United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published an Apple patent application related to face and presence detection that could be used to help keep iOS devices secure. Patently Apple said the company’s application describes a technology that could allow a user to unlock his or her device by simply looking at it. Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) already features face detection, but it can easily be tricked according to reports, and doesn’t always work. Apple’s solution details a way to analyze a user’s mouth, the tip of a nose and eyes, and the distances between each of those facial features to determine whether or not a person is is the owner of the iOS device. The reliance on 2D facial feature locations might mean Apple’s solution will be vulnerable to the same flaw that allows anyone to access a locked Android 4.0 device using a photo of a face, instead of a real face, but we won’t know if that’s a real issue until the technology is implemented. The patent also describes support for multiple users, though it is unclear when, if ever, Apple will implement this technology in its iOS platform.

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