Google's Android Face Unlock Might Be Getting a Bit Ridiculous

By Sam Gibbs on at

Face unlock is one of the best things about Android. Just press a button, stare at the screen, and your phone or tablet automatically unlocks. On a Nexus 4 it can be so fast you'd think it was broken. But now Google's looking to get you pulling funny faces to unlock your phone, isn't that a bit absurd?

At the moment you can check the box to require a blink mid-face unlock, basically as an aliveness test, but a recent patent from the father of Android seems to be taking things much further. The idea is that you pre-arrange a set of goofy expressions, which you then pull when you want to unlock your phone.

Google goes as far as suggesting things like a frown, a "tongue protrusion", a scrunched-up forehead or an eyebrow movement. A video of your facial movements will be analysed for artefacts that might suggest it's just a series of photos and not your real ugly mug. The patent also outlines blasting coloured light into your face and watching for the colour diffraction reflected from your eyes, which sounds like it's taking things a tad far to me.

Anyway, it's all designed to make sure the system can't be fooled, and that it really is you trying to get into your phone. As long as it takes less time than just tapping in a pin, I'm all for it. Although I can picture people getting into all sorts of fights or very awkward situations if you're forced into being a funny man just to unlock your phone on the tube, train or bus. [BBC]

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