Today, all smartphone manufacturers are racing towards offering a full edge-to-edge screen experience. However, while also integrating facial recognition technology, they are forced to add a notch that houses the required sensors. The recently launched Vivo NEX comes with a pop-up selfie camera and an in-display fingerprint sensor, whereas the Oppo Find X comes with mechanical slide up cameras, while ditching the notch. It does show how smartphone makers are keen on bringing innovative technologies to the masses, but 3D facial scanning is where the Apple iPhone X clearly leads the pack.
Now, according to a report on ITHome (courtesy of industry insider from China), Vivo is working on a 3D structured light technology to bring advanced 3D facial recognition to its smartphones. Vivo has already started developing TOF depth camera which can achieve functions such as 3D structured light module. The technology is expected to support c3D depth mapping for face unlock and also authenticate payments, the report said.
Watch: Oppo Find X First Look
TOF depth camera has a bunch of advantages. To being with, the overall size of the module is small, meaning OEMs can easily ditch the notch. Secondly, the sensor can identify face from a longer distance compared to existing sensors. Report also says that the TOF sensor can function accurately, irrespective of the lighting conditions. Thirdly, TOF depth camera is convenient to mass produce, meaning Vivo may be able to deliver better 3D depth sensing compared to Face ID on the iPhone X.
We have also come across a representational image showing the placement of TOF depth camera along with the infrared and proximity sensor. The image also suggests that these sensors can be embedded under the display, and so OEMs may not need a notch to house those sensors.
The report further hints that Vivo will unveil the new 3D facial recognition technology at MWC Shanghai 2018 which takes place between June 27 and June 29. Further, Vivo could also launch a smartphone equipped with 3D face scanning tech sometime later this year.