API in development for native support of facial recognition authentication on Android

A recently updated code commit to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) describes a new face authentication framework API, as facial biometrics become a more popular feature of Android smartphones.

The documentation shows the “Add face authentication framework” commit has been in development since March, and would add face authentication capabilities to TrustManager and Keyguard. It follows a fingerprint authentication API design, though it allows only one face template per user.

The description indicates that to authenticate the user, “a vendor message is passed from the HAL all the way to the client callback to allow GUI indication about the enrolled face templates.”

The owner of the commit is Gilad Bretter, who lists an Intel email address, but no further information is available about the company’s involvement.

The Android P Developer Preview includes a BiometricPrompt API which can be used for face, iris, or in-display fingerprint biometrics. It was also recently reported that 3D facial recognition technology would likely not be available until Q3 2018 as the challenges of hardware and software integration are worked through.

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