Smush your photos to boost Samsung Galaxy face recognition, researchers say

University of York researchers suggest iPhones and other devices could benefit from biometric security technique too

samsung galaxy s 6 gs6 edge
Credit: Samsung

You can improve facial recognition security on Samsung Galaxy phones by morphing multiple photos of yourself to unlock the device, researchers at the University of York's FaceVar Lab say.

This improves upon storing a single target image, according to the team led by David Robertson, of the Department of Psychology's FaceVar lab. Their paper, "Face averages enhance user recognition for smartphone security," has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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The researchers said the Galaxy's face unlock feature reliably shuts out impostors but is less sure about approving the real owner without morphing profile photos. The morphing idea stems from earlier research that found the brain forms abstract representations of familiar faces.

While researchers specifically used Galaxy smartphones for this study, they said that the morphing technique would probably work on other devices that use biometrics as well.

Many users are eager to ditch passwords, but lack trust in biometric techniques. Nevertheless, product vendors -- such as NEC with its face recognition technology for PCs -- are moving ahead with facial recognition features. 

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