Samsung explores iris detection tech for future mobile devices

Samsung explores iris detection tech for future mobile devices

Summary: Samsung is researching biometric technology, including iris scanning, to stand out in the mobility industry.

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Credit: Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Samsung is researching ways to integrate advanced biometric technology within our future smartphones and tablets.

The South Korean firm is exploring various new authentication methods for mobile devices, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Samsung senior VP Rhee In-jong, chief of the Knox division, told investors at a forum in Hong Kong:

We're looking at various types of biometric [mechanisms] and one of the things that everybody is looking at is iris detection.

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Apple, Samsung race to put fingerprint tech on tablets, despite market growth worries

Apple, Samsung race to put fingerprint tech on tablets, despite market growth worries

Aside from being rivals in the smartphone space, the two electronics giants are pushing hard to develop fingerprint technology to cater for their business users.

Both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and rival Apple's iPhone 5S use biometric technology through the implementation of a fingerprint scanner. Samsung's latest flagship smartphone was released seven months after Apple's device, but also used fingerprint scanning to give users a second means of authentication beyond PIN codes and gestures.

Biometric technology is still within its infancy. Fingerprint scanning, for example, is not that secure — as Germany's Chaos Computer Club proved by cracking the system 48 hours after Apple's device was launched. Whether fingerprint scanning is a gimmick or not, it can only be an improvement if used instead of swipes or gestures in order to access a smartphone or tablet. Both fingerprints and irises can be mimicked, but iris detection systems are harder to fool.

"We, as a market leader, are following the market trend," Rhee commented. The exec noted that advanced biometrics was likely to appear in high-end devices first, but biometric sensors could eventually be available in low-end models.

By focusing on advanced features such as iris detection, Samsung may be hoping to lure additional security-conscious clients to the Knox fold. The mobile security platform is aimed at the enterprise, and while 87 million devices embedded with Knox are in circulation, only 1.8 million users actively use the system. Banks, healthcare and financial companies are taking advantage of Knox, according to Rhee, but Samsung wants wider distribution of paid Knox users.

Samsung is also attempting to break in to the educational sector, having recently launched a pilot program with schools in Trinidad and Tobago using the Knox Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) system.

Topics: Security, Apps, Mobility, Samsung

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3 comments
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  • Oxymoron?

    "We, as a market leader, are following the market trend," Sounds like a contradiction in terms to me.
    MajorlyCool
  • Corrections

    Iris detection? I believe the terminology is iris recognition. However, if they are implementing iris detection I'm sure someone will buy an app to tell them if they have irises. 0_o

    Biometric technology is not in it's infancy it's been around and in use by governments and militaries for quite some time. Fingerprint is still widely accepted as an authentication method in gov/mil because of familiarity. Iris has a much lower false positive rate is slowly gaining ground.

    The only reason smartphone scanners are so rubbish is resolution, sensor size and sensor technology (capacitive) therefore leading to limited minutiae capture. Better sensors will improve the false positive rate.

    "Both fingerprints and irises can be mimicked, but iris detection systems are harder to fool."

    I'm not quite sure what you are getting at here. Yes fingerprints can be spoofed easily on some sensors but iris recognition usually has a liveness detection function. This works by taking several pictures of the iris and detecting pupil dilation. Try doing that with a spoof!

    The worst thing about working in the biometric industry is battling the misconceptions held by the public disseminated by the press. The simple fact is that biometrics is like any industry; cheap components = cheap results.

    (I work in the biometric industry. Can you tell?)
    CorticalStack
  • A very cool way

    Now this could be awesome. Another way to make the smartphones of the future so cool and secured. All the new smartphones that Apple and Samsung released have biometric functions. I hope will come true someday.
    catherinej02