June 15, 2015 -
Amazon has received a U.S. patent for ear recognition technology that scans the user’s ear with a smartphone’s front-facing camera to unlock the device when holding it up to the ear to answer a call, according to a report by Slash Gear.
Research shows that the shape of an individual’s ears are just as unique as fingerprints, which would enable the technology to accurately identify the ear of the smartphone owner when the device is being held up to it.
Besides being used as an unlocking mechanism, the technology may prove to be useful in situations where only the smartphone owner needs to be able to answer incoming calls.
Additionally, the technology would allow users to automatically switch to or from speakerphone as well as adjust the earpiece volume according to the distance between the phone and the individual’s face.
The patent was initially filed in 2011, long before Amazon launched its first Fire Phone.
The company said it will eventually release another model of the Fire Phone, which could potentially feature the new ear-scanning technology.
Previously reported, Descartes Biometrics Inc. showcased its new HELIX flagship ear image recognition technology for enterprises at the International CES on the Hill event in Washington DC on April 15.