MediaTek, the company known for making budget smartphone processors, has unveiled a new face-unlocking method which can rival Apple’s Face ID while keeping the costs to a minimum.
For achieving that, MediaTek uses something called Active Stereo Depth Engine, which is similar to a camera setup used for capturing bokeh and other visual effects. However, here it is paired with an IR projector, a couple of IR lenses, machine-learning software as well as depth-of-field acceleration engine.
MediaTek has collaborated with other companies to come up with the unlocking mechanism, notably Himax, which once collaborated with Google to bring us the Google Glass, as well as Vision Technology Face++, which has been called the world’s largest face-recognition technology platform.
So far, support for Active Stereo Depth Engine has been included in MediaTek’s Helio P60 and P22 chipsets, with support for much more varied hardware expected in the future. MediaTek even reckons the security it provides is strong enough to be used in financial transactions, too.
Currently, the biggest alternative to MediaTek is what’s called the 3D structured light technology, which uses light patterns and sophisticated sensors for scanning 3D objects correctly. However, this tech tends to be on the expensive side of things, which means only premium devices such as the iPhone X and Oppo Find X have it.
It is not confirmed when the first devices featuring Active Stereo will hit the market, and whether the method proves to be a successful alternative to Face ID and other unlocking systems.