A new patent has been granted to Apple today which details the use of facial recognition technology for advanced control of devices such as iPhones and Macs.
Titled “Personal computing device control using face detection and recognition,” the patent was originally filed back in 2008. The technology described aims to make it easier for users looking to beef up security on their devices, as well as for those who wish to have a much more convenient computing experience. Face detection and recognition are two different things, the former being the act of locating faces inside an image and the latter being the part where a particular image is paired with that of a user configured to gain access to a particular access.
Apple’s patent describes that a face detection decision application, a face recognition application and an input/output control application work in tandem to figure out if a particular user is authorized to gain access to the device and even if they are authorized, which functions can that particular user access within the computing environment. A usage scenario is described in the patent. For example if an iPhone receives an incoming call and the device senses that someone is looking at the display, the iPhone can figure out if the person looking at the screen is an authorized user or not, and if it doesn’t see the authorized user, the iPhone would only play a ringtone or vibrate but not show the incoming call user interface.
Another usage scenario is an incoming email being hidden from view until an authorized user face is recognized by the device. It is not known right now if and when Apple plans to implement this technology in its devices. You just don’t know it with patented technology, for all we know, it might never see the light of day.