Fujitsu adds iris recognition to mobile phone security

Forgotten pin numbers and passwords will no longer hinder access to mobile phones thanks to iris recognition technology developed by Fujitsu.

The company has developed an iris authentication system and built it into a prototype smartphone, which is currently being exhibited and demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona.

Fujitsu has previously focused on developing authentication technologies for smartphones, tablets, and computers, including vein authentication for personal computers and fingerprint authentication for mobile phones.

Schematic of smartphone prototype equipped with infrared camera and infrared LED
Schematic of smartphone prototype equipped with infrared camera and infrared LED

The new biometric authentication system uses infrared light to acquire the pattern formed by the iris. That pattern is read by shining a custom compact, high-output infrared LED light on the eyes, then taking a picture of them with an infrared camera to acquire the pattern.

The result is a system claimed to reliably authenticate the detailed patterns of the iris in most everyday situations.

Fujitsu said that it selected Delta ID’s ActiveIRIS – a high-speed, high-reliability iris recognition engine – in order for the system to be used at a normal smartphone viewing distance, rather than within the 10cm range that most existing iris recognition systems require.

As well as smartphones and tablets the system could be extended in a range of applications that include security solutions. Fujitsu said it is conducting on going research and development on this eye-safe iris authentication technology and is investigating ways to broaden its scope with a view to commercialisation in fiscal 2015.