Fujitsu's iris scanner for smartphones: Hands-on

Fujitsu's iris scanner for smartphones: Hands-on

If you're looking for a way to secure your device but aren't a fan of current generation fingerprint sensor implementations, Fujitsu's new iris scanner, demoed at MWC 2015, might be just what you've been looking for. What the Japanese company had up for shows was just a concept bolt-on-ike accessory that snaps on the top side of phones, but we were told to expect a commercial version of the tech to hit the market sometime in the next year. Take a deep breath, though – the scanner will be housed in the top section of your smartphone, around the front-facing camera, supposedly without adding any extra depth or weight.

There are few key things you need to know about the iris scanner in question. In terms of the tech employed here, we're looking at a combo of infrared gizmos – a camera and a flash. After getting through the initial setup, those will be used to illuminate your irises and take a snap of them, which will then be quickly analyzed for a match before letting you past the lock screen. It's safe to say that Fujitsu's implementation is faster than any locking method currently on the market, as the process usually takes a fraction of a second at most. 

Also essential is the scanner's ability to recognize you for being you even when you're wearing contact lenses (but not colored!) or glasses. Fujitsu stressed how that, along with the ability to unlock your phone when your hands are wet/gloved, make iris scanners a significantly more hassle-free method of securing mobile devices, and we can't disagree. Best of all, Fujitsu's scanner might be made available to other manufacturers for use with their devices, though company reps avoided giving us a straight answer.


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19 Comments

1. SamsungEU

Posts: 147; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

Just imagine in a few years thiefs will steal your phone and gouge your eyes out.

2. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Now they can cut your finger off. I don't think that pulling brain out will give them password so it might be the best security method

4. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Now just dont have a cataract or something.

11. bachir8k

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

How about showing this sensor a photo of me displayed on another phone , is it going to recognize it?

13. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Probably it won´t work with a picture, because of the infrared light emmitter. It would only react with living things. Or so I assume.

16. bachir8k

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

how about a video of me staring at the camera :)

20. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

The same, it should not fool the system for two technical reasons: a) Your camera doesn't record the infrareds b) Even if you buy a camera that does that (they do exists): your screen won't emit on the infrared (and I don't knnow any screen that does it) Take my assumption as just that, an educated guess, as I don't know 100% how the technology works.

3. PopeFrancis

Posts: 110; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

That looks ideal for Project Ara

5. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

"It's safe to say that Fujitsu's implementation is faster than any locking method currently on the market, as the process usually takes a fraction of a second at most. " While it may be true that the process of taking the pic and analyzing it is quick, did you consider the time it takes to get the phone into position? With a little more progression in the fingerprint readers, they will be hard to beat. You'll be able to unlock your phone immediately upon taking it out of your pocket. I am not at all a fan of the idea of having to put your phone up to your eye every time you want to unlock it.. you'd look like an idiot. lol Not only that, getting a flash when trying to unlock the phone.. no thanks to temporary blindness! The one good thing is being able to unlock it regardless of gloves or wet hands.

12. Bjray

Posts: 199; Member since: May 29, 2014

"Not only that, getting a flash when trying to unlock the phone.. no thanks to temporary blindness!" Unless you can see infrared you're not going to see anything... And the same can be said for Iris scanners. A little more progression and you could have a longer & wider range, that alone basically takes away the merit of your argument. And when the device is laying down on a surface an fingerprint reader is a nice backup, no need to put it in position.

15. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Regardless the range you still need to positioning your eye to the sensor. But yeah fingerprint reader may required two hand to unlock just because the akward position of sensor on home button, but that solved with the new on screen fingerprint reader tech, so fingerprint should still faster and less hassle.

18. Bjray

Posts: 199; Member since: May 29, 2014

"Regardless the range you still need to positioning your eye to the sensor." No. If you're eyes are looking at the screen and it's within a reasonable distance it should work perfectly fine. Even in the video he's not "awkwardly" wielding the device, just a little higher than usual. As for fingerprints being faster... Well the video shows that's not the case, it already seems faster than Apple's Touch ID. Hassle, if/when it's fully perfected I don't see how it would change your normal usage, just pick it up and look at the screen, we're already doing that. Also sweaty/covered fingers will render it useless. Nothing besides wearing shades will stop the Iris scanner to my knowledge. In that sense, it's actually less hassle.

19. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

sweaty/covered fingers that one thing where it better. and maybe it quicker to unlock yeah I see where iris sensor excell. Still i fell that the requirement to look at the screen...fingerprint just feel solid especially if the sensor already embeded on screen.

14. RandomUsername

Posts: 808; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

Just watch the video. He is holding the phone at a normal distance and it unlocks in a fraction of a second.

6. TimePass

Posts: 43; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

This is innovative. I hope they can make plenty of this technology. Next yeas flagship surely going to have this in build.

7. Rhinoface

Posts: 179; Member since: Dec 05, 2014

Pretty cool

8. Ninetysix

Posts: 2939; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

How well does it work inside a movie theater?

9. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Well, it's based on infrared technology so it won't depend from lighting condition.

17. checkmymike

Posts: 218; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

Chris you have big boobs. You need bra.

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