Sharing photos with the people who are in them is about to get easier. Apple has applied for a patent titled Systems and methods for sending digital images, which uses facial recognition to identify individuals in a photo. The iOS camera already uses facial recognition to improve its focus on subjects. By taking the next step and figuring out who's pictured, iOS can tap associated contact information already stored on the iPhone.
Rumors of facial recognition technology coming to the iPhone have been swirling around for years. Apple purchased Polar Rose almost four years ago, and patents filed even before the acquisition point towards development work in this vein. For those who are looking to add this biometric security feature to their iOS devices now, the jailbreak tweak Appellancy fits the bill.
Once installed, Appellancy adds an app to the home screen. Here the user can capture multiple images to be used in the facial recognition process that unlocks the device. A higher number of photos will improve security, but this can also slow down recognition. More than one face can be stored, allowing multiple people to unlock the iPhone with their visage.
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.
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.
Apple as usual has made a business decision that could lead to exciting new features on the next generation iPhone and beyond. The company has acquired Swedish company Polar Rose, known for its mobile face recognition technology FaceLib among other similar products.
With full face detection and tracking of faces in video, the solutions Polar Rose delivers could change how you interact with your iPhone. Now that the iPhone 4 has a front-facing camera, passcode lock could end up going the way of the dinosaurs.