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Google says Face Unlock will not work with a picture

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Google says Face Unlock will not work with a picture
The new Face Unlock feature for Ice Cream Sandwich is one of the more intriguing features that will be available, we don't know a lot about how it exactly is going to work. Obviously, it would have helped if the demo at the Galaxy Nexus announcement had actually worked, but since we don't have that, we have to just guess. 

The Cyanogen lead developer Koush tweeted that it seemed like it would be easy enough to game the system by using a photograph to hack into someone's phone. It's a valid worry, but also one that shows a pretty small amount of faith in the Google engineers. That fear has been put to rest by Android-focused Developer Advocate Tim Bray, who has said that a photo will not be enough to unlock your phone. 

Now, the big question is in how long Face Unlock will take to get you into your phone. Face Unlock sounds great, and Google is known for pushing its products to be fast, but Face Unlock needs to be very fast to keep users content. 

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posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:13

1. Snapdude (Posts: 128; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)


it works :)

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:25 11

3. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Do I have to smile? What if I'm just an angry person?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 13:13

19. remyrz (Posts: 184; Member since: 28 Oct 2010)


..... lol

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 19:44 2

41. Lucas777 (Posts: 2121; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


isnt this just a copy of what nokia demoed and put on symbian? if it is not just let me know but i could have sworn i say it for symbian...

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 21:31

43. protozeloz (Posts: 5369; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Google has being woking on this for quite some time ,how old is the Nokia feature ?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:13 2

2. dhruba (Posts: 27; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


as the demo in the last video showed. Its indeed fast

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:31 4

8. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I like to see real world usage rather than controlled demos anyway.

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 13:13 7

20. PotDragon (banned) (Posts: 214; Member since: 22 Jul 2011)


Yet...iphonearena already posted a "review" of ICS. Now we are forced to read about your "guess" as to how it operates. Surely you have hands on experience, right? No one with a shred of ethics would "review" an OS they had never used...would they?

Can't "review" an event you did not attend either ( how is parking in Hong Kong, Michael? )...but no one would ever be so small minded as to attempt that...right?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 15:42 2

32. Hallucinator (Posts: 339; Member since: 24 May 2010)


Your kind of a d**k

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 16:20 7

34. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


We actually haven't posted any "review" of ICS. We have only posted previews of features to expect.

I'd say a full video feed of an event gives enough to review. It seems you would agree since you've found enough about me to judge without having met me or had a conversation with me.

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 17:05 2

37. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


OOOoooo! sit down PotDragon! xD

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 23:16

45. GoodFella (Posts: 112; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Michael Heller, them are fightin' words! Feels good to do a little of that once in a while, eh? :)

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 00:27 4

47. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I have no intention of starting a fight, but I will certainly defend myself and this website from anyone slinging mud unjustly (and hypocritically in this case).

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 00:31 1

48. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


Michael goes hard at representing for his site yo! that's a total G right there. ;D

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:28

4. sake2mel (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


What about a video?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:30 1

5. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I'm guessing there needs to be some sort of depth, so a video or photo won't work. Maybe a photorealistic mask though...

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:35 2

9. Snapdude (Posts: 128; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)


IR sensor for depth perception, simlar to the microsoft xbox kinect system

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 13:16 2

22. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Does the Nexus have an IR sensor? Do ANY phones have this?

If not, what's to stop a photo from working? Taking in ambient light and judging if the face is receiving the correct "shine" on their forehead? Does it require you move your mouth or eyes for validation? Could I just take a blown up photo of the person, cut out a hole for the mouth and eyes, then smile a cheesy grin and have access into my bud's Nexus?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 16:23 2

35. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Proximity sensor is IR based, isn't it? Could the range on that help with Face Unlock?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 17:16 1

39. Snapdude (Posts: 128; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)


indeed the prox sensor is usually IR based so in theory yes if they bumped up the specs of the prox sensor it could double as an IR sensor to aid in facial recognition

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:37 1

10. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


i assume it has some way of "measuring" distances from eyes to nose n mouth n such and looking for slight variations. Im not really up on this kinda tech, so its just a guess.. but it sounds good :)

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 07:01

51. Diablo2424 (Posts: 10; Member since: 29 Jun 2011)


I'm not sure about a video, but my friend and I were talking about using a photo and determined the technology probably works on micro-movements that all human beings would do. For example noone can stay %100 completely still, you are always moving, and so is your facial expression, it's never %100 still, so it probably uses these micro-movements to determine if it's really your face trying to unlock the phone. A video might possibly be able to fool this system, however that video would have to be VERY clear, no glare on the screen it's being played back on, same depth (as mentioned below) and same facial expression. That's a pretty serious video you'd be requesting of someone, lol.

Either way, we just have to wait until it's released to see! :-)

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:30

6. WirelessCon (Posts: 309; Member since: 11 May 2010)


What about a 3D picture/video.

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 13:23 1

23. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


You would need 2 lenses to read that it is indeed 3D. So 2 phones out of all Androids would be able to do this (not Nexus).

Side note, say you have 2 EVO 3Ds...play a 3D video on device A, record 3D video on device B of the 3D playback on device A...Will the video look 3D on device B?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:31 1

7. WirelessCon (Posts: 309; Member since: 11 May 2010)


What about a life-cast of the face?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:37 7

11. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


what if we just chopped the head off and wiggled the mouth infront of the camera?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:48

14. protozeloz (Posts: 5369; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


LOL!!

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:53

15. tech-head (Posts: 132; Member since: 02 Sep 2011)


LMFAO

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 15:43

33. Hallucinator (Posts: 339; Member since: 24 May 2010)


I tried that with the beta and it worked fine

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:38 5

12. bossmt_2 (Posts: 429; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)


If someone goes through the effort to make a perfect 3D replica of your face, they deserve to unlock your phone.

On that note, I'd assume there's a slew of reasons a picture wouldn't work, from the lighting not being proper, to curving of the picture, reflection off the picture, who knows. Aside from a picture of you, I don't think any other way of hacking it would be highly practical

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:46 1

13. rd_nest (Posts: 684; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)


I have to add something here. This face recognition in Nexus is by PittPatt systems.

http://www.pittpatt.com/

Google acquired this company. Actually it had only 3 employees (or partners if you call so). All of them are big shot Ph.D holders.

Andy Rubin mentioned in the interview yesterday that they had to "slow" down the PittPatt system.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/19/andy-rubin-ice-cream-sandwichs-face-unlock-is-developed-by-pit/

Demo:http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/19/ice-cream-sandwich-face-unlock-demo-video/

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 14:11

27. terabyteRouser (Posts: 412; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Those are some ugly chicas at that pittpatt.com website.

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 12:58

16. blackrose (Posts: 48; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


it takes about two seconds check it on engadget

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 13:03 5

17. dex-4 (Posts: 22; Member since: 09 Dec 2010)


What happens if I am in a accident and my face is all messed up or even worse how will it recognize my wife without her makeup?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 13:10

18. Snapdude (Posts: 128; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)


+1 lololol

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 13:47 1

25. Mobile-X-Pert (Posts: 565; Member since: 20 Dec 2010)


My N8 is able to recognize people faces on the pictures and even on the newspaper with the face detection feature, so I guess it is possible that a picture of you can unlock the phone.

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 14:44

30. rd_nest (Posts: 684; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)


hmm...

simple actually, the phone unlock system has a secondary option - You can add a simple pin code or you could also add a unlock pattern like in older androids. if facial recognition fails, the secondary option pops up.

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 13:16

21. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


This s**t looks sweet.

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 13:36

24. Alantef (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Sep 2011)


really quick...you guys are funny...i love you guys lol

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 14:20

28. terabyteRouser (Posts: 412; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


you love us? why?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 15:01 2

31. Alantef (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Sep 2011)


not you....you didn't say anything funny....so this doesn't apply to you

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 14:06

26. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


ah glad that question is answered now what about people who get plastic surgery to look like you...

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 16:26 1

36. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Just get plastic surgery to look like them & reprogram the phone.

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 00:37 2

49. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I think we're getting some good ideas here. So far, we have to ask Google about: photorealistic masks, video, and Face-off scenarios.

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 00:56

50. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


don't forget look a likes! o:

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 14:32

29. Tmachaveli (Posts: 425; Member since: 01 Apr 2011)


man its gonna be some ugly ppl looking into there phones. lol

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 17:11 1

38. Sniggly (Posts: 6697; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Lol, I think the point is not that something can't be worked around, but to make it hard enough to work around that to the average asshole it's not worth the effort. :)

posted on 21 Oct 2011, 07:58

52. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Agreed, and as proven in the original demo, it won't even let in the actual owner of the phone. Now THAT is security.

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 18:47

40. ReturningToNokia (Posts: 130; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)


I'm not sure why Michael H. finds this to be an intriguing feature; there's an app for the same functionality at Ovi. Surely there is an app for this in the Android market, yes?

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 20:10

42. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


everything is better native baby.

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 21:40

44. protozeloz (Posts: 5369; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Yes there is one on the market ,but many will work with a picture this one won't , this one is also embed in the system, as always from google the"facelock" is an invitation for devs to do something cool with it. Learning how it works assures an app could use your face for tons of other things All it needs is creative mind

posted on 20 Oct 2011, 23:24

46. vijaysivakula (Posts: 161; Member since: 17 Aug 2011)


Duh! Would this have a flash in the front for those evenings and nights without a lot of light? This should also have a snore sensor or it would get activated every time i turn towards the phone while i sleep.

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