Face ID vs/and Touch ID

14 08 2018

It’s always good to have a choice.

I’m not a big fan of the iPhone X’s Face ID (or Face recognition on my Surface Pro4) because it requires you to hold the phone (more or less) directly in front of your face. I prefer the iPhone’s fingerprint scanner on the front or the Nokia’s on the back of the phone. But this is a personal preference thing so I may be in the minority.

I’m not sure about the real reason why Apple didn’t offer two biometric authentication systems. There are lots of circumstances where you can’t use Face ID.

In hospitals or in Asia where I live people often wear a face protection when they got a cold or a viral infection, muslims wear facial veils, bikers wear a helmet and to just look at a message coming in they have to pull it off, outdoor activities may require safety glasses, and, and, and.

And there are also lots of situations in which Touch ID is unusable. What remains then is the old-fashioned way to enter a more or less complex unlock code. A big step backwards in usability.

From a technical point of view smartphones can’t be made a lot better but from a usability aspect there can still be done a lot. Just two examples:

• The FP Scanner of my Nokia 6.1 should be placed nearer to the top of the device.

• Apple should offer both, Touch ID and Face ID.

Companies like Apple, Samsung and Huawei have focused on providing phones with edge-to-edge displays. So in-display fingerprint sensors would allow phones to have full-screen displays with an invisible fingerprint scanning feature.

A device with Touch ID and Face ID could also allow an advanced biometric authentication in that the fingerprint scanning is combined with face recognition giving some kind of 2-Step Authentication for device unlocking and payment release.

Face recognition can only be used to build up more secure multimodal biometric systems which use multiple sensors or biometrics to overcome the limitations of unimodal biometric systems. It can’t entirely replace other techniques.

Hardware does the first step, software the more important second step to identify a person in that it provides algorithms to interpret the data and compare it with a reference image. This can be done accurately or more superficially (like face recognition via “Trusted Face” in Android’s Smart Lock).

I’m waiting for options
in the 2018 iPhone models.

Thanks for dropping by.


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