Apple patents biometric face detection to start or wake iMac

Apple has received 54 patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, including one for an advanced biometric facial recognition system for the iMac, Patently Apple reports.

The facial recognition patent describes a computing device using sensor input to determine when a user enters into proximity with the device, on which it may power up, exit sleep mode, or provide feedback to the user. The system would also estimate “observation likelihood” with multiple concurrent asynchronous sensors. Apple notes that while presence sensing will be carried out by cameras and light sensors, other sensor types such as ultrasonic or microwave RADAR may be used.

The filing describes several depth sensor techniques that may be used, including with infrared sensors, and mentions potentially capturing images in 2D or 3D.

The system would use a low probability threshold to determine when a user is facing the device, and then capture images at a higher resolution, which would be used “to determine a facial feature detection parameter and a movement detection parameter,” which would be used to determine if the user is facing the device.

Patently Apple reports the iMac facial recognition patent is partly derived from the acquisition of Polar Rose by Apple in 2010.

Apple also had a patent filing published earlier this year for Face ID and other biometrics on MacBooks.

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