As devices become more sophisticated and their capabilities increase, the potential uses for those technologies start to emerge. With cameras in the iPhone and iPad becoming more advanced, it seems like a natural progression to improve on the facial recognition technology by making it more reliable and secure –and 3D (by taking a two-dimensional image and rendering it as such).
A patent application files earlier this month, entitled “3D Object Recognition” indicates that Apple has this project in the works. While it was originally filed in Sweden by a company called Polar Rose, Apple acquired them in 2012 (for a cool USD $29 million) giving them the rights to assign it to Apple instead.
The original filing was less consumer in nature, as the rendering was intended to be used in technologies for government such as passport verification and other identity confirmation tasks. Consider how useful (or scary) it would be to have the technology that lets the authorities automatically identify a person from video footage (without their knowledge or express consent).
Many devices (such as the iPhone 4S) already to facial detection for shooting still images and even more common is the ability for software to provide that feature. For parents with a considerable library of photographs it can be quite handy to have a way to automatically recognize the subjects from each frame.
One potential use for facial recognition is related to security –requiring a particular user to be present in order to verify their identity and unlock a device as an example. This has existed in the Galaxy Nexus Android 4.0 smartphone since last fall, but was found to be an easy system to fool by holding up a photograph of the person needing to be scanned. Apple will have to build on that foundation if they want to build something more secure.
If we tied this news together with the recent rumor that the iPad will soon allow for multiple user profiles, it would be nice to have a recognition system that automatically customized iOS based on the person holding the device.