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Apple patent filing describes improved Face ID biometrics for masked users

Company’s Secure Enclave targeted for patent infringement

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The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently published a continuation patent from Apple showing possible improvements to Face ID biometrics in relation to users wearing masks.

Specifically, the technology described in the newly published biometric patent would use heat maps to assess the occlusion of landmarks on a user’s face in a captured image.

According to the patent’s text, “occlusion of the user includes the blocking or obscuring of the user (e.g., the face of the user or some portion of the user’s face) by some object (e.g., a finger, a hand, hair, masks, scarfs, etc.) in the image.”

The document also explains how the occlusion of the user in captured images often reduces the effectiveness of processing the image in the facial recognition process.

However, using heat maps and calculating the estimated location of landmarks on a user’s face may help biometric algorithms to still identify them correctly, even when they’re wearing masks.

Apple facing another lawsuit, this time over Identity Security

Identity Security is suing Apple over its Secure Enclave technology, Apple Insider reports.

Integrated into most of Apple’s recent devices, including iPhones, Apple Watches, and Macs, Secure Enclave is an on-device solution designed to protect sensitive user data, including biometric templates, by isolating it in a dedicated subsystem.

Identity Security is now claiming the technology infringes on four of its patents, all of them related to ways of improving user security by creating a digital identity residing on a unique microprocessor device and using passwords or biometrics.

For context, Identity Security is reportedly a non-practicing entity, a firm holding patents for products and processes without actual intentions of developing them, and the suit has been filed in the Western District of Texas, notorious as the preferred jurisdiction of patent trolls.

The firm is suing Apple seeking damages and court fees, as well as ongoing royalties based on Apple’s sales of millions of products utilizing the Secure Enclave technology.

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