Apple granted patent for biometric 3D Face ID system with eye tracking

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple 59 new patents including one of a biometric 3D Face ID system that uses eye and head tracking for advanced facial analysis in iDevices, Macs, and gaming, writes Patently Apple.

The 3D head tracking system that leverages video sequence of different images for posture assessment is, according to Apple, a critical feature to ensure accurate facial analysis and recognition which are based on eye tracking.

While most would think eye tracking is based on monitoring point of gaze, Patently Apple points out it is in fact “locating and tracking corneal reflections from an applied light source.” The light source is often infrared or near-infrared light which is not detected by the human eye and makes a distinction between the pupil and the iris.

Apple’s solution integrates different techniques that use pupil gradient information to identify and monitor eye gaze in relation to a three-dimensional (3D) model of the head. These operations can be carried out by a desktop, laptop, notebook, tablet, smartphone or a gaming device. An innovative feature of the patent is Face ID’s skill to collect facial features and run pupil localization and gaze tracking although the user is wearing glasses.

The patent was filed at the end of 2017 and published in December 2019.

Previous patent filings have hinted that Face ID, Touch ID or even vein biometrics may be coming to future Apple Watch models.

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