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Original Face ID patent applications published


A series of patent applications related to the iPhone X have been published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, including Apple’s integrated Face ID 3D facial recognition technology that introduced the biometric concept to millions of consumers.

Many reported patent filings from Apple and other companies involve inventions that could be implemented in the future, or not at all, such as a skin texture pattern-recognition patent Apple recently filed. The three newly-published patents, however, describe features of the original iPhone X, as PatentlyApple reports.

The patent for a “Portable Electronic Device” details the now famous “notch” containing the vision system, as well as the wireless charging module. “Electronic Device having a Vision System Assembly held by a Self-Aligning bracket Assembly,” sets outs Face ID’s dual camera and light emitting vision system, noting that emitted light rays may be infrared.

In a key section, Apple writes that the bracket assembly contains “a vision system designed to assist in providing recognition of an object, or objects. In some instances, the vision system is designed to provide facial recognition of a face of a user of the electronic device. The vision system may include a camera module designed to capture an image, which may include a two-dimensional image. The vision system may further include a light emitting module designed to emit several light rays toward the object. The light rays may project a dot pattern onto the object. Further, the light emitting module may emit light in the frequency spectrum of invisible light, such as infrared light (or IR light). The vision system may further include an additional camera module designed to receive at least some of the light rays reflected from the object, and as a result, receive the dot pattern subsequent to the light rays being reflected by the object.”

It also notes the possible inclusion of a light filter for the second camera to confine it to capturing light in the frequency emitted by the projector.

Biometric Authentication Techniques” applies the technology described above to biometric authentication. It refers to possible two-dimensional image capturing with flood illumination and three-dimensional image capture with depth illumination, as well as the use of a secure circuit along with the image processor for matching. The patent also mentions the use of techniques such as pseudo-random capture mode sequences to prevent replay attacks and other spoofs.

Face ID is expected to be upgraded in new iPhones planned for launch in 2019.

This article was updated at 8:55 ET on July 17, 2019 to reflect that the published documents are applications not yet granted

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