A Glimpse Into the Future: Fujitsu Uses Iris Scanners to Unlock Smartphones

A Glimpse Into the Future: Fujitsu Uses Iris Scanner to Unlock Smartphone
Photo from AFP/Getty

Fingerprint scanning will soon be a thing of the past.
Japanese tech firm Fujitsu has recently developed an iris authentication system that allows users to unlock their smartphones simply by staring at it.

The latest innovation by the company was first showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) which was held in Barcelona in March of this year, and the company has since released a number of demos of its iris scanning technology in Tokyo.

According to Fujitsu, its iris scanning system can be used by smartphone users not only to unlock their mobile devices, but also to log on to their Facebook, e-mail, and other web services accounts.

Fujitsu’s iris scanning authentication system, which is said to be a handset add-on, will be released by the company later this year.

In a statement to the Daily Mail, the company told:

“Fujitsu’s new authentication method uses iris recognition, which is hard to forge and convenient to use.”

“The screen can be unlocked simply by looking at it, which eliminates the trouble of having to use [your] hands when wearing gloves and can’t use a fingerprint.”

Just like fingerprint scanners, the iris scanner is a type of a biometric authentication system. Fujitsu’s iris scanning authentication system works through an infrared light that is shone by the mobile device to the smartphone user’s eyes in order to verify his identity. The scanner analyzes the pattern on the ring surrounded by the pupil of his eyes— which is collectively known as the iris.

The pattern exhibited by the iris is unique and does not change in any significant way after a person is past the age of two. The scanning of the iris is considered one of the most effective biometric security measure, as this part of the human eye is difficult to injure and extremely hard to forge.

Fujitsu’s iris scanning system works similarly to all other biometric iris scanning security system available in the market today, where the details of a user’s iris pattern is stored and is cross-referenced every time the user attempts to unlock his smartphone.

But it looks like Fujitsu isn’t alone in its hope to make use of this technology for future smartphones.

It appears that Korean tech giant Samsung has also hinted about its desire to use iris scanning technology for its future lines of mobile devices. According to reports, Samsung is licensing the ‘Iris on the Move’ (IOM) technology by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

Researchers at Stanford claim that IOM technology will allow users to unlock their devices simply by glancing on them, instead of having to stare at them.

According to the SRI:

“Tests have shown this purely iris-based solution to be more than 1,000 times more accurate than published fingerprint data.”

1 Comment

  • Diane Lane says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. The article doesn’t state whether wearing contact lenses or eyeglasses would affect the device’s ability to scan the iris. I think it probably wouldn’t, but I’d like to know. I assume one would have to remove sunglasses, since they could prevent the scan, and there’s more of a chance here in Texas, that I’d have dark sunglasses on, than gloves.

    I do think security is important, but I don’t like the idea of biometric scanners, simply because I believe they are intrusive. I’d rather type in a password. Even though a simple glance, rather than having to stare into the scanner, would be just as intrusive, I might consider when the technology is developed, because it seems slightly less creepy.

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