Google patents facial gesture security for Android

Google has filed a patent that will allow Android phones to be unlocked through facial recognition software.

The patent describes a feature that compares “facial landmarks” from an initial image and a secondary image. It will require the user to perform a facial gesture such as sticking their tongue out, and will base the authentication of the user on this. This two-step verification checks that the user appears to be the same as the device owner, and also performs the correct gesture saved to the device.

Example gestures are offered by the patent, and include frowning, “tongue protrusion”, open-mouth smiles, forehead wrinkling, and eyebrow movements.

Google revealed liveness-checking last year in their Jelly Bean mobile operating system, requiring users to blink at a device to prevent “spoofing”, such as showing a photograph of the device owner to trick the software.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia found a workaround for this however, and posted a video of a photograph being edited to resemble a device owner performing a blinking gesture, thus fooling the device.

The patent was published on June 4

th, although it was originally filed in June last year. and lists the inventors as Michael Sipe, Henry Schneiderman, and Michael Nechyba; based in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

The software described in the patent has yet to be implemented in any Android OS currently. Android updates have been notorious for their infrequent and often delayed releases, and the next edition, codename “Key Lime Pie”, has yet to be officially announced. Only time will tell in the wait for this facial recognition upgrade.

How do you feel about Google’s latest attempt at biometric security? Thought of any workarounds? Let us know in the comments.


comments powered by Disqus