Apple Patents Face Recognition Control

Tired of remembering and entering your password for your smartphone or other devices? Apple may have a solution that you can never forget -- your face.

On Tuesday, the technology giant received a patent that unlocks an iPhone and other devices through facial recognition. Patent No. 8,600,120, entitled EUPersonal computing device control using face detection and recognition,EU describes the ability of a device to EUdetect the presence of at least one user, without the need for receiving active user input information,EU so that certain device operations can be controlled on the basis of whether a user is present.

The operations would not have to be restricted to unlocking the phone, but could include, say, turning off certain apps if the ownerEUs face was not detected. The patent describes one configuration where control would be in response to one or more faces in captured images, at least one of whom is detected as an authorized user.

Launching Apps

In addition to logging in or out of a device, the control triggered by the face/image identification could launch one or more apps, select or de-select one or more elements in an app, play or pause music or video, or control a wide range of other possibilities.

In other words, while using your face as a password seems like the near-term implementation, AppleEUs patent potentially lays out a completely new paradigm for interactive control, based on image, facial or object recognition.

One imagines your face could unlock the device, a smile could bring up your personal calendar, and holding up your car key could trigger the app that locates where you parked your vehicle. When an incoming call is detected, the device might first scan to ensure you are you, and, if confirmed, it will then let the call through. A similar gating process could work before...

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