iPhone X, 3D Facial Recognition, Mobile Biometrics, It Ain’t Just Rock-and-Roll

As we’ve all over heard, Apple launched its iPhone X this week and, as presented in the media, even TV and radio, its two most lauded features are 3D facial recognition/authentication and its 5.65 in. (143.6 mm) x 2.79 in. (70.9 mm) edge-to-edge display. Yes, it’s also a very thin device measuring 0.3 in. (7.7 mm) deep and lightweight, at a puny 6.14 oz. (174g).


Once again, the media, reporters, tech community, and users, seem to be most impressed with iPhone X’s 3D facial recognition abilities, particularly as the technology also authenticates the user’s face as a password of sorts to unlock the device for use. On the other side of the many coins, all are impressed, or depressed, with its $999.00 price tag; a month’s partial rent for some, a new guitar for others.

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The Order of the Apple


One initial point to note is that Apple has eliminated the fingerprint sensor from its iPhone X. This is most likely due to the fact that a fingerprint identifies users but does not authenticate them accurately in a manner that 3D technology does.


In order to perform accurate facial recognition and authentication, the iPhone X employs proprietary cameras and 3D sensors. The system associated with this task, dubbed the TrueDepth camera system, includes an infrared camera (sensor), dot projector, and a flood illuminator (light projector). In operation, the user looks at the display, the dot projector projects thousands of infrared dots on the user’s face, while the flood illuminator beams light on the face to compensate for low-light levels.


The light projections and sensor data are then fed to iPhone X’s A11 chipset, a proprietary dual-core chip design that processes the biometric facial-recognition data in real time. Basically, the infrared sensors create a face model of the user and saves it for future reference. The system is said to be so accurate that it can recognize the user even if he or she changes hairstyles, wears glasses, or tries to somewhat disguise themselves.


Apple Minions


Obviously, the 3D recognition and authentication feature is noteworthy and a true value in terms of security. And it’s also probably a lot fun to play with, i.e., trying to fool it. Unfortunately, although iPhone X can identify its users, the feature most likely will not be available on Apple’s other 2017 to 2018 product launches.


This aspect kind of leaves some Apple aficionados out in the facial-recognition void, particularly the many users running iOS 8.3+. Whether they care or not is open for debate, but it might be something to think about. Apparently, facial-recognition software company FaceTec has thought about it, a lot!


ZoOm Delivers 3D Recognition Power To The People


Overcoming the complex and expensive hardware requirements of the iPhone X, FaceTec believes its ZoOm is the industry’s first universal 3D face authentication software. The company foresees itself clearing the path for widespread adoption of password-free 3D face authentication on a plethora of devices using diverse OSs. It claims ZoOm software will reliably authenticate users on the countless smart devices running iOS 8.3+ and Android 4.3+.

FaceTec's ZoOm overcomes the high cost of iPhone X's hardware requirements.

Josh Rose, CTO of FaceTec, reiterates and clarifies the reasons for eliminating the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor in favor of 3D depth perception and analysis.  He states, “Apple knows that a fingerprint only identifies the user, it does not truly authenticate them. For authentication you must verify identity, 3D depth, and liveness concurrently. While specialized 3D cameras may solve the problem, they will take many years to achieve mass adoption because they are far too expensive.”


Introduced last month, ZoOm uses its own proprietary TrueLiveness technology to verify identity, three-dimensionality, and liveness using just a front-facing camera. It operates reliably on any iOS or Android device. Removing the limitations associated with biometric software, ZoOm promises to enable secure, password-free authentication for all smartphones.


Like TrueDepth technology, ZoOm claims to operate reliably in all real-world lighting conditions including night and recognizes users even if they change their look. It features an intuitive selfie-style interface that requires less than two seconds to authenticate the user and is available in over 30 languages. Additionally, ZoOm is FiDO and iBeta certified and can be configured with False Acceptance Rates (FAR) of 1/50,000 up to 1/1,000,000.


ZoOm-Ability For Developers


Size wise for implementation, the ZoOm Software Development Kit (SDK) is under 20 MB and can be added to an app with just a few lines of code. The SDK is available now to all mobile app developers and is free to all non-profits and educational organizations, startups, developers, and small businesses with less than $10 million in annual revenue. For larger organizations, enterprise and government, ZoOm is billed per-user, per-month.


The fully functional ZoOm demo app is available for evaluation on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store under ZoOm Login. To learn more, contact FaceTec .