Samsung granted US patent for 3D camera system with iris recognition capability

Samsung has been granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a 3D sensing camera that can be used for smartphone iris biometrics, Patently Apple reports.

The patent application was originally filed in Q2 2014, even before the announcement of Apple’s Face ID, and describes a system which flashes near infrared light at a device user to be captured by a biometric camera with an extended depth of field (EDOF) imaging lens, a bandpass filter to block ambient light, and an imaging sensor to convert the optical image into an electronic signal for processing. A processor receives the video image of the user’s iris and matches it against enrolled images.

In addition to its iris recognition capabilities, the camera system could be used for proximity sensing, night vision, 3D time-of-flight sensing, eye position and gaze tracking, and 3D sensing with structured light.

The new system is necessary, according to the patent background, because of challenges posed to iris image capture by ambient light, motion blur, depth of field at close distances, and limited field of view, as well as the additional cost and space of the biometric sensor. The patent illustrations depict a smartphone, but the system could also be integrated with a tablet, television, notebook, or desktop computer.

It was reported in March that Samsung was working with Mantis Vision to develop a 3D camera for the Galaxy S10, which is expected to launch in 2019. The involvement of Mantis Vision was also reported more recently by Korean publication thebell, which said Samsung patent applications indicate the S10 could include a combined under-display fingerprint sensor and button.

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