Metalenz partners up to commercialize 3D facial recognition locks and payment kiosks
Optical sensor developer Metalenz has formed a partnership with 3D sensing system supplier Dilusense to enable ultra-secure facial recognition to be built into smart locks and payment kiosks.
The companies say the next-generation biometric products are the first to be mass-produced with Metalenz’ structured-light meta-optics.
The smartlocks are intended for high-end residential and commercial building access control, while the payment kiosks will be deployed by retailers and in vending machines across China.
Both utilize the Orion meta-optic dot projector, which Metalenz claims delivers unmatched dot-contrast, pattern precision and diffraction efficiency. The Orion uses 30,000 precise laser dots to deliver enhanced facial recognition performance, according to the announcement.
“If you look inside any 3D dot pattern projector, especially ones for structured light applications where you’re trying to project a complex, dense dot pattern, you’ll normally have 3 or 4 different lenses,” Metalenz CEO and Co-founder Rob Devlin explained to Biometric Update in an email. “Refractive lenses, traditional lenses, as well as a diffractive optical element. The purpose of these elements together is to project a pattern of dots onto your face, like the ones coming out of the face ID in iPhone, for example. What we can do at Metalenz is take the functionality of those three or four traditional lenses (that are usually made by completely different suppliers btw) and we can reproduce that functionality all in a single, flat, planar, optic, which we call a ‘meta-optic.’
“Often when you think about reducing complexity of these systems, you’re thinking about trading off in overall performance,” Devlin writes. “However, because a metasurface can precisely control light with the nanostructures that make up the surface, we actually can improve performance as you go to this less complex, smaller, easier-to-integrate module. So, with a meta-optic you get better contrast as well as better part to part repeatability- optical performance and manufacturability – best of both worlds.”
The Metalenz-designed meta-optics are mass produced by UMC in a 12-inch wafer fab, which is part of Metalenz new OEM supply chain.
“As one of the most innovative 3D sensing system suppliers for IoT devices and consumer electronics, we continuously invest in product development, focusing on safety, efficiency, and technological innovation,” says Shi Lei, VP of product, sales, and marketing at Dilusense. “Our partnership with Metalenz combines their optical technology with our full-stack product development capabilities to bring the market our most advanced 3D sensing solutions.”
Devlin says the dot pattern projector works with any customers’ biometric software, and can be made to customer specifications.
“We work with our OEMs throughout the process to make sure that the Orion component is properly integrated into their systems. What this means is we provide prototypes, simulations, and early engineering samples from our mass production partner UMC to start building modules. And in cases, we will even work with them in terms of making sure that their algorithms and measurements and everything else that they’re using as metrics in their system are matching with what we sent them.”
Metalenz raised $30 million in a funding round last October to support its commercialization of meta-optics.