Facial recognition identifies people by measuring the unique shape and structure of their face. In 2017 Apple launched the iPhone X, the first iPhone to use 3D face recognition technology. Apple's system projects 30,000 dots of IR light onto your face to measure and map facial contours. The iPhone then remembers the relative location of those dots.
Fingerprints are comprised of ridges and valleys which intersect at various points that can each be identified and cataloged uniquely. Capacitive fingerprint scanners were the first biometric authentication method to appear on smartphones. They detect the ridges of the fingerprint as they contact a conductive plate. Further, ultrasound sensors create a 3D image of a fingerprint. Fooling the ultrasonic sensor is much harder, since the scanner references your fingerprint’s pattern, but also the contours of the ridges and notches. Another advantage is that the sensor operates through the display. The ability to produce screen panels with integrated fingerprint sensors allows Samsung’s Galaxy S10 phones to place the sensor on the front of the phone.
Iris recognition technology provides another non-invasive method of authenticating a user. Iris scanning, introduced by Samsung’s Galaxy models in 2017, offers an extremely high level of security via near-infrared optical technology that captures a detailed image of a user’s iris pattern. Iris recognition should not be confused with retina scans. Retina scans use the vascular structure at the back of the eye to identify an individual.
Voice and Speech Recognition
Voice and speech recognition are separate biometric concepts. The key to voice recognition is to convert the user’s speech waveform to a digital representation for analysis and processing. Speech recognition is a user interface technology that allows users to interact with and control technologies by speaking to them. Each of the main AI assistants — Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Assistant — can perform searches and basic tasks based on voice commands.
Biometric sensors all work on the same principle: verifying a user’s identity via unique personal physical characteristics. Studies show that consumers are embracing biometrics, thanks to their smartphones. Going forward, items like credit cards and driver’s licenses also could become more securely represented by biometrics.
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