Fujitsu unveils smartphone prototype using iris recognition
16 March 2015 13:16 GMT

The prototype uses the iris recognition engine ActiveIris from Delta ID.

Japanese tech firm Fujitsu has become the first major electronics player to unveil a smartphone prototype that incorporates iris authentication, raising a biometric challenge to other major players such as Apple and Samsung.

Launched at the Mobile World Congress in Spain, Fujitsu has incorporated a miniaturised infrared LED light into a smartphone which is located on the top left above the smartphone screen, and an infrared camera, which is located on the top right.

Enrolment is carried out by users looking into a pair of animated circles in a guidance app. Irises are illuminated with the infrared light and the infrared camera captures an image of the pattern.

The prototype uses the iris recognition engine ActiveIris from Delta ID, which can be used at normal smartphone viewing distance, rather than within the 10-cm range that most existing iris recognition systems require. The tech could also be used to authorise payments.

Unlike the fingerprint or facial recognition as seen on competing devices like Samsung’s S6 and Apple’s iPhone, iris is not impacted by aging, says Delta ID.

ActiveIRIS uses advanced computer pattern recognition techniques to create mathematical representations, called templates, out of the unique random patterns of the iris. These templates are used for recognizing the user.

Delta ID says its tech can recognizes a user in less than 150ms, that it works with or without glasses, that It matches out-of-focus, misaligned, occluded eyes, images with motion-blur, pupil dilation, and that it works across lighting conditions with ambient reflections. It also has a 1 in 10 million false acceptance rate, according to Delta ID.

In February, UK-based iris recognition firm Smart Sensors was acquired by FotoNation, a provider of computational imaging solutions for smartphones and digital cameras, in a deal has the potential to accelerate the development of iris-based biometric authentication solutions for mobile devices.

In January, projector and display manufacturer ViewSonic revealed plans to debut a smartphone using iris recognition. The ViewSonic V55 will feature a hidden iris scanner that’s enabled when the user slides open a small cover, with the authentication also used to protect files and folders inside the device as well as unlock the phone.

In January, Indian biometrics expert Nandan Nilekani predicted that budget smartphones using iris scanners could become an important authentication tool for his country’s biometric Aadhar unique ID number project.