Fujitsu has developed an iris authentication system that fits into a smartphone

Unlocking smartphones with a stare

Unlocking smartphones with a blink of the eye has just become a possibility with a new iris authentication technology developed by Fujitsu and debuted at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona today.

The technology, which uses a tiny infrared LED light and a camera integrated into a smartphone to take a detailed image of the user’s iris to analyse its unique pattern, represents a next step in the use of biometric identification in consumer technology.

Fujitsu said it believes its system is more convenient than fingerprint readers, available currently on some of the high-end smartphones, as it eliminates the inconvenience of, for example, having to remove gloves in order to authenticate a command.

The technology could not only serve as smartphone protection but could also be used to authorise sensitive transaction including financial transfers otherwise requiring the user to select, remember and insert a password or a PIN code.

Fujitsu said it managed to scale down to technology so that it can be seamlessly integrated into a smartphone or a tablet.

To unlock the device, the user simply looks into the camera lens from a normal viewing distance, instead of the 10cm required by previously developed systems.

Iris, the coloured ring around the pupil of the eye, has a very stable pattern, unique to every individual, which doesn’t change with age and is virtually impossible to copy or replicate.

Fujitsu said the technology proved to be highly reliable in trials and wants to commercialise it by the end of 2015.

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