Facial Recognition to Join Touch ID on iOS devices?

Now that biometrics has made its debut on the iPhone 5s, it's only a matter of time before Apple integrates more of this technology into future devices. Touch ID has successfully integrated a fingerprint sensor into the iPhone, simultaneously increasing security while simplifying the user experience. Now a patent uncovered by AppleInsider points to Apple's work on facial recognition.

Apple face recognition patent

The patent was filed in 2008, and describes a system that would control a computer or iPhone using face detection and recognition. The idea would be along the same lines as Touch ID, increasing security for the user's data while improving productivity and convenience. Capturing a facial image would be accomplished with an image sensor, or this could be done with the built-in iSight cameras on current model iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

Detection of the face would be followed by a recognition process, where the face is identified as belonging to a particular device user. From there, specific actions on the device could be locked or allowed depending on who is authorized. For example an incoming call or text message might only be visible to one person. The message could be hidden from another person whose face was not recognized by the system.

The patent is titled "Personal computing device control using face detection and recognition," and is one of many Apple has filed relating to face identification. Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony are already making strides with facial recognition technology in smartphones and gaming consoles. Apple acquired facial recognition firm Polar Rose in 2010, however the technology has yet to appear in any iOS products. The technology would complement Touch ID, adding another layer of security and ease of use.