Sony patent filing shows head acoustic biometrics, Apple granted patent for multi-user authentication

Sony patent filing shows head acoustic biometrics, Apple granted patent for multi-user authentication

A patent filing from Sony Corporation showing the use of acoustic measurements of users as a biometric modality has been published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The patent application for a ‘head related transfer function (HRTF) as biometric authentication’ describes how user’s head geometry is used to tailor audio playback, and how this HRTF, if well-modeled “is very personalized and can be considered as biometric data.”

The system would use HRTF templates stored locally or in the cloud in encrypted form, and used to grant access to a computer or certain functions. The HRTF can take the form of a password or simply as a biometric measurement, and be combined with other biometric modalities or factors to implement multi-factor authentication.

The drawings depict an individual performing biometric authentication through a wearable headset.

The application was filed in June, 2019, and as with all patent filings, may or may not depict a system actually in development.

Apple granted multiple biometrics patents

Apple has been granted a patent for a system enabling the use of multiple users biometrics on a single device, in just one of a trove of 51 applications that Patently Apple found granted by the USPTO.

The patent granted for ‘provision of domains in secure enclave to support multiple users’, first filed in late-2017, presents a system to carve up a secure enclave processor to store credentials, such as passwords and biometric templates.

Most of the filing describes how the system would implement the standard procedures people associate with mobile electronic device credentials, like forcing password entry if a biometric or other authentication attempt repeatedly fails, or locking the device against authentication to a credential for a set amount of time after successive failed attempts.

Different embodiments of the technology described include one with multiple processors connected by a secure circuit to the secure enclave, or device passcodes being used to provide entropy for encryption algorithms to generate user-specific keys.

Another patent for ‘implementation of biometric authentication’ presents a system for providing user interfaces for biometric enrollment, aligning a biometric feature, or giving the user “hints” during enrollment.

In some cases, the interface would be for application-based biometric authentication, and in some cases, it could be used “for autofilling biometrically secured fields.”

Biometrics could also be implemented to manage data transfers, or the system could prevent successive attempts to use biometric authentication.

Perhaps most significant is the suggestion that the system could perform biometric authentication “without an explicit input from a user requesting biometric authentication,” which is how Face ID works, but not Touch ID.

This patent application was filed in August of 2019.

The other patents granted include location-based device automation, new potential features for Apple Watch, and a backup system with multiple recovery keys.

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