A new trilateral partnership is poised to deliver 3D facial recognition to future Android smartphones.
The collaboration is between Himax, a fabless semiconductor component manufacturer; fabless chip maker MediaTek; and Megvii, a company specializing in AI-driven 3D facial recognition and face modelling. Together, the companies are developing an ‘Active Stereo Camera’ (ASC) 3D sensing reference design aimed at Android smartphones, which the companies say will offer cost benefits enabling smartphone makers to bring 3D facial recognition to mass market devices.
In announcing their solution, the companies asserted that it will use a projected infrared grid to map a subject’s face, consisting of somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 dots. That won’t be as accurate as Apple’s Face ID system, which uses a 30,000-dot grid, but it should be sufficient for producing a pretty sophisticated depth map. The companies say their solution will also feature a compact form factor, IEC 60825 Class 1 certification for eye safety, and a glass fissure detection mechanism that will shut the system down in the event of a break in the projector’s glass.
The collaboration points to the growing excitement around 3D facial recognition as a biometric modality for mobile devices, with a recent report suggesting that it will slightly displace fingerprint scanning in the years to come. With their partnership, Himax, MediaTek, and Megvii could jumpstart that process, with Himax CEO Jordan Wu asserting in a statement that their solution “will facilitate a broader adoption of 3D sensing” on Android phones in 2019.
September 5, 2018 – by Alex Perala