Samsung catches up with Apple, gets patent for 3D face scanning camera

Samsung catches up with Apple, gets patent for 3D face scanning camera
A release from the U.S. Patent Office shows that Samsung has been granted a patent for a 3D face scanning camera to be used in mobile devices.

While Apple was the first company to introduce the technology with the iPhone X's Face ID, the filing year of the patent in question, 2014, shows that Samsung has been working on it for a while. Releasing a device with 3D face scanning before they acquired the patent would have been possible, which means Samsung is still working to improve the technology so that it could be used commercially in the near future.

One possible reason is that, according to Samsung, their solution has extended capabilities. The patent includes numerous functions, including: eye tracking, motion detection, night-vision, 3D time-of-flight sensing (measures the time it takes for the 3D mapping beams to reach your face and return to the sensor) and others. Sadly, in this context night-vision refers to the ability of the sensor to work in a dark environment and would not help you sneak at night.

The system would add two new hardware elements to the front of the device, a near infrared light source and the biometric camera itself, while two new modules will handle the received information internally. The NIR light is shined at the user while the sensor picks up the return signals, standard procedure for those types of sensors, now found in other devices as well (Find X and Mi 8 explorer edition). The front-facing camera is also used to provide the system with information about the person's eyes, if they are opened or closed, or presumably, if you're wearing glasses.

While it is theoretically possible for Samsung to include this tech in the new Galaxy Note 9, none of the leaked information so far hints towards it. That means that the first smartphone to feature the 3D scanning camera will almost certainly be the 2019 flagship Galaxy S10.

source: PatentlyApple via Cnet

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57 Comments

1. Boast_Rider

Posts: 534; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

Why can't they just make a decent face/iris unlock instead of making half-assed implementations and changing them each iteration. I mean, seriously, how can cheap $200 phones from Xiaomi have vastly superior face unlock compared to Samsung. And why the hell is Samsung's implementation so slow.

2. drunkenjay

Posts: 1657; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

who cares. i just want a phone with every good feature they can get in a single phone. if they implement 3d scanning on the s10 it will be good for me if i buy it. on screen fingerprint sensor with 3d face scanning.

7. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

I very much doubt a cheap $200 dollar phone from Xiaomi has better face unlock than Samsung. I would like some actual proof to support that claim. Furthermore, have you actually owned a Samsung device with Samsung's intelligent scan? I do, and it's really convenient and works really well. If you care about security, then you shouldn't use face unlock but the fingerprint scanner or Samsung's iris scanner.

23. Boast_Rider

Posts: 534; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

Here you go: https://youtu.be/ssqT0eaWL2U And that's a pretty reputed channel with over 1M subs And no, S6 was my last Samsung phone, and I intend to keep it that way. Releasing badly tuned Exynos processors here isn't doing them any favours, along with 6 months late updates.

27. Icent55

Posts: 71; Member since: Nov 02, 2017

Who uses face unlock when there is intelligent scanner and iris Sorry but those two are way better than just faceunlock

41. iPhoneFanboy

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 21, 2018

Intelligent scanners get fooled by your casual civilian holding up FB pictures to the phone? LOL.

44. ShadowSnypa786

Posts: 553; Member since: Jan 06, 2017

Do you really want to get reminded of the Iphone X fails when using the Face ID? Or have you suffered amnesia all of a sudden?

45. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

You mean failing to close family members as opposed to failure by a mere photograph? Be my guest, fam.

46. cmdacos

Posts: 4083; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Please provide a link. I know facial unlock was fooled by a simple photograph. I know iris scan was fooled in a far more complex way than faceID was but I haven't seen a link for intelligent scan being defeated easily. Iris is where it's at anyway. Far more secure than the other options since a twin, doppleganger etc can't get through.

52. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

And FPscanner

53. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Faster doesn't mean better, it need to be faster and more secure (at least as secure) to be called better.

56. Kastro

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 04, 2018

Then which one is your first phone

57. Boast_Rider

Posts: 534; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

S6 being my last Samsung phone means that's the most recent Samsung phone I owned. It's not the last in preference, as the S6 was excellent.

12. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

why can't they put ambient light sensors in their $350 phones such as galaxy A6+? It's a basic sensor, is it so much to ask.....??

16. Papa_Ji

Posts: 829; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

And why can't apple put basic Finger PRINT SENSOR on 1200$ crap.

34. NateDiaz

Posts: 1084; Member since: Mar 03, 2018

You stopped sending bobs and vagene to Apple, that's the actual reason.

38. prakash_shewani

Posts: 25; Member since: Feb 05, 2016

cos it already has one. Btw at least Indian version has it.

13. ph00ny

Posts: 2024; Member since: May 26, 2011

What's wrong with the current iris/face unlock?

20. tedkord

Posts: 17291; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The face unlock works, but it's easy to trick with a photo. The iris scan works perfectly, and is actually quicker than other face scans.

37. BLUEBLASTER

Posts: 926; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

He's right though we had the same shambles with finger print scanners when Samsung first got them on the S5.

3. cocoy

Posts: 455; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

If Samsung was the first to file the patent then how come the author says playing catch up? They have the technology before Apple use it. They probably not using it because it can easily be fooled like the mother and son situation which was reported before.

5. ahmadkun

Posts: 561; Member since: May 02, 2016

If you don't know .. you are at I phonearena !

8. Zylam

Posts: 1813; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

And how about all the patents Apple filed years before they put them in their products, yet fandroids screen about how they are copying Android OEM's? Works both ways buddy.

39. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

Such as? Please provide examples, or are you just saying this for the sake of lacking and argument and then hoping to god that it's actually true?

4. ahmadkun

Posts: 561; Member since: May 02, 2016

Android OMEs need at least 5 years to have this technology..?

6. blingblingthing

Posts: 939; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

How many did Apple need to get finger print scanning, notification light, notification shade, dual cameras etc?

54. rouyal

Posts: 1573; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

You might want to do more research on some of those.

11. bucknassty

Posts: 1325; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

yep from 2014

15. sissy246

Posts: 7065; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

And do you really think apple does it over night. How many years did it take them to do some of their patient

9. Ciro1900

Posts: 591; Member since: Dec 17, 2017

xamfung will always be the apple w***e

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