Patent reveals Galaxy Note 7 could have an integrated iris scanner

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 17
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 is believed to be just around the corner. One of the biggest features rumored to be launched alongside the phone is a new iris-scanning technology that will allow you to securely unlock your phone by scanning your eyes.

Reports show Samsung has been working on an iris scanner since at least 2014. But a new patent lends credence to the rumor that we could be seeing this technology sooner rather than later. According to the patent, the iris recognition system will rely on three individual lenses, a dedicated lighting device, and an image processing system.

The system would rely on two narrow-angle lenses for capturing the individual eyes of the user. These would be used alongside a wide-angle lens to capture the entire face of the user. Together, these images would be used to capture and verify the identity of the person attempting to unlock the device.

Samsung Iris Scanner 3
Illustrations detailing the multiple camera setup expected to be used in the upcoming Galaxy Note 7

Besides the lenses, one of the key elements in the patent is a built-in infrared light, which will shine on the eye of the person attempting to unlock the phone. This would provide a more accurate image than using ambient light and wouldn’t blind the user as an LED light would.

For such a technology to be commercially successful, Samsung would need to balance security with convenience. Fingerprint scanners are extremely quick and although iris scanners would be more difficult to fool, the latency of such a system could prove to be a downfall. In addition, the individual components in an iris-scanning system will likely cost more than a fingerprint scanner, inevitably raising production costs.

Another trade-off that could be seen in this patent is the need for a rather large unit on the front side of the phone it’s being implemented into. As phone manufacturers continue to shrink the bezel on devices, this could reverse that trend.

We’ll see soon enough whether or not this will actually make its way into the Galaxy Note 7. What are your thoughts? Would you be willing to trade a little convenience and screen real estate for added security? Or is a fingerprint scanner good enough for you?

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