In lieu of an advanced facial recognition platform, Samsung is apparently working on something else: biometric palm-reading.
A recent Samsung patent application details a system of scanning a user’s unique palm features as a means of identification. Interestingly, the system as explained in the patent application isn’t meant to be used to unlock a device. Instead, it’s portrayed as a way to help users get access to a forgotten password.
In addition to identifying — and presumably authenticating — a user’s unique palm lines through a camera view, the system would also display certain fragments of a user’s forgotten password and hid them within the distinct patterns on their hands. It won’t show a complete password, but show display enough of a hint for a user to guess.
It’s not clear if the password hint abilities would be limited to a user’s device passcode, or if it could be applied to saved passwords in a browser. The latter would, of course, be a lot more useful in a practical sense.
Even though the patent application uses the method specifically for forgotten password help, there’s always the possibility that it could be used for more traditional authentication purposes — like unlocking a device or authenticating a user’s identity for Samsung Pay. On that note, Samsung would need to implement some type of depth-sensing technology to thwart spoofing.
It’s an interesting method, and unusual considering most biometric systems rely on fingerprint or facial recognition. But, since it’s just a patent application, there’s no guarantee that the platform will end up on the Galaxy S9 or a future Samsung device. If it does, it’ll join the litany of security features on Samsung handsets, including fingerprint, iris and facial recognition as well as the stock Android PIN and pattern passcode options.
The Korean phone maker may be a few years off from developing a facial recognition system as advanced as Face ID, but this patent suggests the company is still striving to one-up Apple.