Fujitsu demonstrates iris scanner prototype that unlocks smartphones

March 2, 2015 - 

Fujitsu demonstrated at Mobile World Congress this week a new smartphone with a built-in iris scanner that can authenticate users in less than a second, according to a report by Computer World.

The iris scanner prototype, which Fujitsu said is the first of its kind for a smartphone, unlocks a phone by analyzing the unique patterns of the individual’s iris.

The prototype weighs less than 1 gram and is grafted onto a regular smartphone. Fujitsu was able to manufacture a miniature version of an infrared LED light, located on the top left above the screen, and an infrared camera, which is located on the top right.

Users must first register their unique iris pattern, which is stored locally on the phone itself.

The registration process is performed by analyzing a pair of animated circles in a guidance app, with the irises illuminated with the infrared light and the infrared camera capturing an image of the pattern.

Once the irises are registered, the phone can be unlocked in under a second as long as it is positioned relatively close to the eye.

The prototype is based on a high-speed, high-accuracy iris recognition algorithm developed by Delta ID that has an error rate of about one in 100,000, said Fujitsu.

“This device can be used to unlock applications and for cloud authentication,” said Takuya Kitamura of Fujitsu’s ubiquitous business strategy unit. “Fujitsu is also working to make this an enterprise security solution, adding iris authentication to fingerprint and vein scanning.”

Fujitsu previously developed gaze-tracking sensors for e-commerce applications and palm-vein scanners for laptops and tablets, so it is conceivable that the company might integrate the iris scanner into these devices.

Though Fujitsu has not yet decided on how the iris authentication technology will be commercialized, it is hoping to bring it to market in the year ending March 31, 2016.

Previously reported, Fujitsu demonstrated a range of biometric solutions, including PalmEntry physical access control, during the National Retail Federation’s Annual 2015 Convention & Expo.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.