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Microsoft patents iris ID method for unlocking smartphone and other devices

Microsoft recently patented technology relating to an iris identification method that could be used in the company’s future Surface smartphones, tablets and notebooks, as well as possibly its HoloLens augmented reality headset, according to a report by Patently Apple.

According to the patent filing, the method is able to obtain image data of multiple digital image frames captured of the subject’s eye having an iris and a pupil while lighting the subject’s eye from different directions.

The method then compares data dependent on similarities in parts of image data of at least two digital image frames related to an area of interest of the subject’s eye. Using the comparison data, the technology then automatically determines the presence of the verification feature in the subject’s eye to indicate if it is, in fact, a real eye.

Designed to accurately verify if the iris is from a living person or a static photograph, the system is able to capture two or three photos of the eye for analysis and comparison with a file image of the owner’s iris.

Microsoft states in the filing that a human eye is a three-dimensional structure which is partially transparent, which may result in one or more points in the eye creating differences in the image data of the two digital image frames due to the discrepancies in illumination.

The lack of any significant difference between the image data of the two digital image frames may indicate that the subject’s eye is not authentic, but rather, is a photo of an eye.

The filing also states that “a characteristic feature” of the iris refers to any detectable characteristic of the iris, which can be used to identify or recognize the iris.

“At least one characteristic feature” may actually comprise a set of characteristic features, which may improve the reliability of recognition or identification process.

Previously reported, last year Microsoft filed a patent for a feature called “Biometric Gestures”, which allows smartphone owners to perform various actions by swiping their fingerprint scanner in a certain direction.

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