MediaTek has a cheaper alternative to Apple's Face ID, could debut early next year

Face ID could become more accessible with the help of MediaTek.

  • Published: September 7, 2018 6:04 PM IST

Apple iPhone X was launched late last year as the first major redesign from the California-based company in nearly four years. The iPhone X not only brought an edge-to-edge OLED display design but also a secure form of biometric recognition called Face ID. While iPhone X has been around for nearly 10 months, other smartphone makers have not really been successful in bringing the technology to other devices.

Apple’s Face ID relies on 3D Structured Light technology for facial recognition, which uses a combination of infrared camera, flood illuminator, front camera and dot projector to recreate a mathematical model of the user. Only Xiaomi’s Mi 8 Explorer Edition and Oppo Find X have been able to include a technology and chipmaker MediaTek wants to bring the same tech to mid-range devices as well.

In the past year, Android smartphone makers have overwhelmingly embraced the notch and have enabled face unlock using front camera on most devices. MediaTek believes that it has a solution that is not only practical but also cheaper than Face ID. The technology is called Active Stereo, reports MyDrivers and it will be compatible with smartphones powered by MediaTek Helio P60 and Helio P22 chipsets.

MediaTek says OEMs can achieve Face ID-style biometric authentication by housing an infrared projector, two sets of infrared lenses, facial recognition algorithm powered by machine learning software and a depth-of-field acceleration engine. The chipmaker adds that the Active Stereo Depth Engine is already integrated into the Helio P60 and Helio P22 chipsets.

The Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company says the Active Stereo Depth Engine is currently used to capture depth information for bokeh and beauty effects in camera. If the engine is paired with necessary hardware like infrared projector and infrared lenses, it can even be used for secure authentication of payments and other financial transactions.

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The company also revealed that the infrared lenses and infrared projector are built by Himax while the software side of the chip is developed by Vision Technology Face++. While Apple might showcase second generation Face ID at its event next week, MediaTek will take some time to ship the technology.

  • Published Date: September 7, 2018 6:04 PM IST