Even old sleuths like Sherlock Holmes know that a fingerprint can identify a person. Today, fingerprints are read multiple times a day – it’s routine – thanks to the readers on modern smartphones. But is that the best way for a device to know that it’s being handled by its rightful owner?
What about 3D face scanning? “Wanted” posters have been used for even longer than fingerprints and they work because your face is unique. Well, most of the time, unless you have a twin or a sibling or a kid that looks like you.
Capacitive fingerprint readers are fairly simple devices, readily available to be installed on phones – even low cost phones have them these days. The tech has significantly improved since the early days, now they are fast, accurate and reliable.
That makes them a bit humdrum. The iPhone X has a mini Kinect sensor that ups the cool factor. It claims to have a lower false positive rate – 1 in a 1,000,000 to the fingerprint reader’s 1 in 50,000 – and enables additional features like simulating advanced lighting and animoji. The best extra feature a fingerprint reader can have is a swipe gesture, not quite as exciting (though useful). That said, some phone makers are doing face unlock and emoji with just the selfie camera – less accurate and less secure, but it works.
Currently, there are two phones that offer true 3D face scanning – the iPhone X and the Oppo Find X. Both use structured light, but vivo also unveiled tech based on time of flight, so there may be more phones on the way.
Which technology would you use day to day? The fingerprint reader or the 3D face scanner? Keep in mind that “both” is a perfectly valid answer – there are no phones that can do it currently (unless you count the phones that use the selfie cam), but we could see some in the future. And “none” is an option too, it’s not like you have the nuclear launch codes on your phone.
Fingerprint reader or 3D face scanning?
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