Synaptics Adds Facial Recognition to Fingerprint Readers

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Synaptics is going all spy movie, with updated technology that could improve your privacy and security.

synaptics natural id

The touchpad maker on Tuesday announced a new biometric fusion engine for its line of Natural ID fingerprint readers, which are found on notebooks, tablets and smartphones. The new engine will allow you to get into your device by using multiple types of biometric factors instead of just one.

According to Synaptics, the technology will use a combination of both fingerprint sensors and facial-recognition technology to improve the access security of your device. You can use Natural ID to require both a facial scan and a fingerprint scan to log into your device, or any number of other biometric technologies to pass in order for someone to gain access.

According to Synaptics, you'll be able to decide which recognition techniques will need to be in place in order to get into your device and you can make tweaks to them whenever you see fit.

The technology itself is backed by Synaptics' own Quantum Matcher with PurePrint, an anti-spoofing technology.

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"PurePrint examines fingerprint images using unique artificial intelligence technology to distinguish between fake and actual fingers," the company said in a statement. "Facial recognition also uses anti-spoofing tools including the ability to check for combinations of eye blinking and head movements."

The technology could be a boon for those who want to improve security and don't solely want to rely on fingerprints to get it done. In fact, it sounds like it's straight out of a movie, examining your fingerprint and then asking to see how your head is moving or your eyes are blinking in order to determine whether you should gain access to the machine or not.

Since it can work across device types, it would ostensibly work with fingerprint sensors on both smartphones and computers, as well those machines' front-facing cameras.

For now, the Synaptics fusion engine works only with fingerprint and facial recognition, but the company promised "additional biometric and security factors" in the future.

Synaptics has signed up with KeyLemon, a company that works in the camera-based facial recognition market, to use the technology. Synaptics plans to bring it to other devices and apps in the coming months.

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