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Face-recognition security comes to mobile phones

Feb 28, 2005 — by Henry Kingman — from the LinuxDevices Archive

A company in Japan has developed a technology for camera-equipped handheld devices that uses face recognition technology to authenticate users. Omron says its Okao Vision Face Recognition Sensor can increase the security of mobile devices such as camera phones and PDAs, and protect the data they contain.

According to Omron, as the capabilities of mobile devices such as cell phones grow, the need for security increases as well, since they increasingly include remote access systems, and payment and planning services. Omron's Okao can protect such information should the device be lost or stolen, Omron says.

The user configures the software by taking a reference picture of themselves. Thereafter, in order to unlock and use the phone, they must snap another picture of their own face, which the software compares to the original. Authentication happens “within a second” of snapping the picture, Omron says (on some processors).

Omron claims that the camera need not be held in the same position each time, and that the sensor will detect the owner regardless of the location of the user's face in the frame.

Okao is available for embedded Linux, Symbian, BREW, and ITron, but not for Microsoft Windows Mobile or Windows CE. The footprint size is 450KB of Flash (and 1.5MB for the reference image) and the software requires a minimum of 370KB of RAM.

Omron will demonstrate Okao at the Security Show Japan 2005, set for March 2nd through 4th at the Tokyo Big Site.

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