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Apple patents potential new Face ID biometrics system, to launch face recognition to iMac

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple 43 new patents, one describing an advanced TrueDepth camera for 3D mapping and Face ID biometrics, an improved pattern project system and optical radiation sources, writes Patently Apple.

Optical radiation sources can refer to visible, infrared, and ultraviolet radiation. “The invention provides a compact optoelectronic apparatus featuring a spatially multiplexed light source that includes an enclosure with an array of emitters of beams of optical radiation, projection optics, a polarization-based spatial multiplexer, and a controller contained in the enclosure,” the publication explains.

The optics may include a bundle of first cylindrical lenses, and a second cylinder with a perpendicular axis, which based on optical specifications can provide uniform flood lighting or patterned radiation. The beams emitted through the front face or the rear face of the enclosure could be used for illumination and 3D mapping or uniform flood lighting, among other uses.

Beams could be emitted for patterned illumination to enable 3D mapping based on triangulation, or to work with a scanner for 3D mapping based on time-of-flight (TOF).

This particular patent was filed in Q3 2019 and its inventor is Neil MacKinnon, a Senior Optical Engineer at Apple since 2012.

In related news, Apple is rumored to be adding 3D facial recognition to 2020 iMacs which will allow users to log into their macOS devices with a face scan, writes BGR. Other information going around the block says the design will copy that of the iPad Pro with symmetrical bezels and rounded corners, and that Apple will showcase its first ARM-powered laptop at the online-only WWDC event.

The 3D face recognition system was first added to iPhone X in 2017 when Face ID replaced Touch ID. Soon after, iPad Pro was enhanced with Face ID and now 3D face recognition for Mac authentication seems to be in the cards.

Apple competitor Microsoft has already released facial recognition support for Windows 10 laptops.

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