Google files for patent for unique facial gestures to unlock phones

Passwords that you type could soon be a thing of the past, as tech companies are looking for new ways that would enable users to access their devices and accounts without having to remember a phrase or code.


With Motorola announcing the password tattoos and password pills, and Apple's fingerprint scanner doing a round of rumour, Google has decided that it will welcome this new change in the tech world by introducing the facial recognition method to unlock an account.


According to the Huffington Post, Google, in June 2012, had first filed a request to patent the facial recognition system which would require users to make a pre-determined facial gesture that would then be scanned and compared to a previously captured photo for authentication. 


However, within few months from launching the Face Unlock App that lets the user's face act as a password for the device, a blogger had pointed out that the face recognition system could be duplicated using a photo printout of the same. 


Google is trying to be different and innovative using the facial recognition technology 



Though Google had released a solution for the problem by introducing the "liveness check", which would ask users to blink before the app unlocks the phone, this solution also had a flaw. Anyone with basic photo editing skills could breakthrough the system by edtitng the picture to that effect.


Though the phenomenon of facial recognition is not new to Google, the new requirement for a user to make a unique gesture seems to be an attempt to stop unauthorised users from accessing alien devices. The patent inculdes the manner in which some of these techniques could prevent invalid authentication caused by spoofing.


As per the patent, these unique gestures include a wink, an eyebrow movement, a nose wrinkle or tongue protrusion.


"The idea here is that a hacker can fool a computer with a static image. But moving our faces in a very particular way is a unique marker that not even an impostor can fool. At least that's the theory," said Rebecca Greenfield of The Atlantic Wire, a US-based magazine that first broke this story.


Since Google's new patent is still pending approval, when and how the company's new facial recognition method will be implemented is still unknown.

Published Date: Jun 08, 2013 16:20 PM | Updated Date: Jun 08, 2013 16:20 PM