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back to article New Android plan: Gurn at your phone to unlock it

Google has filed a patent for a new method for controlling computers and other devices by pulling funny faces. In the future, Chocolate Factory fans might be able to unlock their gizmos by sticking out their tongue, rather than by having to remember passwords, according to a new patent. Android users can currently use a system …

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Go

I claim prior art

I noticed years ago that a "tongue protrusion" always gained me entry.

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fluttering eyelashes also seems to get past sentries [Re: I claim prior art]

Sounds like a "handshake" double verification method or something.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I claim prior art

Claim it by all means...

It is a totally useless concept, try gurning the same stupid face twice in a row.

By the time you have managed to unlock the phone the police will have arrived to help you find your way back to your sheltered accommodation, social services will be looking for a placement for you.

It's bad enough seeing people talking into phones the size of a briefcase, but now doing it with stupid faces? Imagine being in a business meeting, 'just need to check with my boss, only take a second'......

Useless.

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Re: I claim prior art

>I noticed years ago that a "tongue protrusion" always gained me entry.

Whereas Roger Moore merely had to raise an eyebrow.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I claim prior art

Damn you're good. I always had to lick my eyebrows as well ...

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And again: Biometry is not suitable for Authorization

A common requirement for secure systems is to change your login credentials regularly, and to never ever use the same for 2 services. How are you going to do that with biometry? Are you going to have multiple faces?

Further more you should keep your login credentials secret... so I suppose you are supposed to wear a face shackle or something.

Seriously, how hard is it to have a display displaying the required facial expression?

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Joke

Re: And again: Biometry is not suitable for Authorization

You can have multiple faces if you are a master of disguise, just like inspector Clouseau

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Thumb Down

Re: And again: Biometry is not suitable for Authorization

@Christian Berger

Your password is due to expire in (0) days. Please provide a new password.

You've used that password recently, please input another.

You've used that password...

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Or...

You could just remember your bloody password...

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Coat

Speech Recognition

Can't we just "speak" the password to the phone in a loud and clear voice.......

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Re: Speech Recognition

And how well will that work when you have a cold? Of have just had some dental work done?

I hereby patent "teabag to unlock" technology.

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Pint

Re: Speech Recognition

Because no one has the technology to record your voice if they happen to be around you unlocking it?

This is a waste of time. Biometrics is never secure by itself. That's why all high security systems that use biometrics also require something else like a password or smartcard - in some cases all three!

The point of locking your phone and unlocking it with your face, fingerprint or voice isn't that it is super secure, but that it is more convenient than typing in a pin or password. And more secure, unless you're one of the paranoid folks who won't unlock your phone with someone standing behind you. Google is just going to give people a false sense of security on top of making them look like they've having a seizure trying to reproduce the right face.

This could have an unintended side benefit, however. That of reducing drunk dialing/drunk texting, since drunk people might not be able to re-create the proper facial expressions and end up locked out of their phone until they sober up! :)

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Re: Speech Recognition - - - ROTM

User: "phome, caww an abwuwance, i am habbing a stwoke"

Phone: "Please repeat your request in a loud, clear voice"

U: "Phome, caww an abwuwance!"

P: "Please repeat your request in a loud, clear voice"

U: "Nrrrggg!"

P: "Voice dialling deactivated, switching to face unlock. Please smile."

U: "I am habbing a stwoke, caww mebicaw hewp!"

P: "Switching to alternative expression. Please protrude your tongue ensuring that no offence is given to any member of the public nearby or persons watching you remotely on cctv."

U: " . . . "

P: "Please repeat"

U: ". . . "

P: "Dialling cancelled. Switching to standby."

.

.

.

.

P: "Low battery. Please connect charger."

.

.

P: "Low battery. Please connect charger immediately.."

.

P: ". . . switching to emergency mode. Bleepbleepblurpbleepblurbbreepblurb. . . drrrt . drrt . drrt"

London Ambulance Service: "Hello, how can we help?"

P: "There is an immediate need for assistance at 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER . "

LAS: "Can you give details?"

P: "Bring a MicroUSB charger."

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Re: Speech Recognition

"teabag to unlock" technology.

I was taking a swig of tea. You owe me a new keyboard.

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Re: Speech Recognition

I've been using voice recognition software to harvest all my colleagues credit card and bank details for years.

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Re: Speech Recognition

I notice that some of our darling El Reg audience have a very poor understanding of iconography........

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Happy

@ Khaptain Re: Speech Recognition

Yeah, I was thinking that as well... Oh well, no matter. I got a chuckle out of your original post anyway

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Joke

Re: Speech Recognition

"This is a voice-activated telephone. Please state which number you would like to call in a clear and calm manner."

"E-LEV-EN!"

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And in the backend, the NSA pre-pop mugshots, you know, 'just in case'

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I'd have been all in favour of this two weeks ago ...

Then I came down with Bell's Palsy. (Temporary paralysis of one side of the face.) It usually wears off after a few weeks, but those weeks could be rendered mighty inconvenient by a sulking smartphone!

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Jin

Entertaining indeed

It sounds absolutely entertaining, though it will not help solve the issue of vulnerable passwords. Any personal verification solution which requires a self-rescue password (a password for self-rescue in case of false rejection) can by no means be an alternative to passwords.

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Password

A password, by definition, is something that you keep secret.

You can't keep your facial expression secret.

You can't keep your fingerprint secret.

You can't keep your voice pattern secret.

Iris recognition? That would be closer but still suffers the same problem.

Passwords serve an entirely different purpose to biometrics. If my brother and I agree on a password, we can do it without the knowledge of any outside entity. And whenever we use the password, we can protect ourselves from revealing it so long as we have half a brain and use secured devices (using unsecured devices makes EVERYTHING moot anyway). Additionally, if under duress*, we can choose to withhold the password and there's not much that can be done about it. At all.

The same is not true of just about any biometric that you care to name. Hence the reason that passwords are still used in this day and age of modern technology.

* I was once asked to reveal the domain administrator password to a school network, by a deputy head of the school, about a month after I'd left. I was quite adamant that it was none of his business (it provided access to things like payroll, for a start). Fortunately, I'd left the job by then and already furnished the headteacher and (at the head's request) one of the school governors who worked in IT with a CD containing all the passwords, logins and required information to run the entire network.

I referred the deputy head REPEATEDLY to the head and refused to reveal any details to him. He tried several times, got angry, threatened all sorts against me - even accused me of breach of contract for not revealing them. He was told, repeatedly, where to go - i.e., the Head, who could furnish him with any details he needed. I don't know what happened - and don't care. I did my job, protected the data under my control, fulfilled my employment contract, and did not break the law by revealing access details to someone who I couldn't verify should have access (if the deputy should have permission - why didn't he just go to the head, as instructed, who could give him the CD?). But I imagine that it's not difficult to conceive of a situation where you are forced to give up such details even if it might be illegal, especially if you aren't leaving the job, etc.

Oh, and what did the deputy want the *DOMAIN* password for? To install a program as administrator, so that a child could run it, because he believed that administrator access was necessary to make it read MP3's when the software clearly stated that it *COULDN'T* read MP3's, only WMA's. He'd bought MP3 recorders and a WMA software suite without bothering to check compatibility first, then blamed me for not being able to get it to work (I did, but it obviously involved a conversion step that I automated as much as possible) - one of the many reasons I started to make my way out of the school.

Passwords are BETTER than biometrics. If I don't want to give you my password, you won't get it from me (whether you can get it from somewhere else, that's a different question). Biometrics - that's just not true.

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Coat

Re: Password

Passwords are not secret. If they were they wouldn't work.

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Anonymous Coward

a much better way

How about a scan inside your pantaloons...now there is a simple detection algorithm...but it may take a few calibration steps.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: a much better way

Then you wouldn't be able to use your phone:

- after swimming in a cold pool

- While, er, 'happy to see you'

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"It wasn't clear how the system might work on one well-known Android platform, the wearable computer Google Glass."

But seven sentences earlier:

"Other "anti-spoofing" systems introduced in the patent could send light beams towards the subject, which are then detected when they reflect off the cornea."

Clearly Glass would be able to do the light reflected off the cornea trick. If only you'd paid attention to what you were writing and engaged your brain Jasper.

By the way those seven sentences each had their own paragraph. In fact almost every paragraph in the article was a single sentence. Not good Jasper. Please learn to write in proper paragraphs.

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FAIL

Classic geek approach to problem solving.

The main benefit to face unlock was giving the user an 'instant' at-a-glance access to their phone. Yet rather than just accept it's not particularly secure they attempt to "fix" it by adding a whole face pulling process that entirely defeats the only original benefit. Sometimes it's just better to do nothing.

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Anonymous Coward

Funny you should say that.

I did consider setting up face recognition and belming at my phone at the crucial moment.

I then remembered I am what the world now considers an 'adult' and probably shouldn't.

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Re: Funny you should say that.

'belming'... curiously, when I googled that term I found

http://news.bbc.co.uk/dna/place-lancashire/plain/A19367814

which appears to be a page entirely copied-and-pasted from H2G2

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Retina scanning...

... unless of course your phone was "borrowed" by Simon Phoenix.

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