People Innovation Excellence

New Samsung Galaxy S8 Unlocks with Facial Recognition, Iris Scanning

By Amy Nordrum

Today Samsung revealed its new Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus smartphones, which users can unlock through iris scanning and facial recognition technology. To do so, users simply hold their phone in front of their eyes or their entire face, as if they were snapping a selfie.

Biometric technology is now being integrated into more consumer devices and is increasingly seen as a critical next step to improve security. Indeed, Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president for product strategy and marketing, referred to the S8’s iris-scanning abilities as the “most secure form of biometric security we’ve ever created.”

A facial recognition feature called “Face Unlock” was available on previous Samsung devices including the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy Nexus, and the Galaxy Note2. In those devices, it came with a warning that facial recognition is less secure than a passcode, and can be fooled by people who look like a user (or perhaps even by a photograph of the user). The company’s troubled Galaxy Note7 from 2016 also offered iris scanning, which is considered more secure than facial recognition.

In the S8 and S8 Plus, these biometric security features can be activated in addition to, or in place of, a PIN code. As is the case with most iris scanners, people who wear glasses may have to remove them in order for the technology to work. The familiar fingerprint scanner from previous generations has been relocated to the upper half of the S8’s back panel, in a spot where it’s more likely to scan an index finger than a thumb.[Read More]


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