Face Key to Unlocking New NEC Laptops

Loraine Lawson

Now, here's a nifty laptop security feature: Two series of laptops from NEC will ship with an integrated facial recognition system called "face pass."


Or, at least, that's what it'll be called when it's sold in Europe or the U.S. But since the laptops are debuting in Japan, the correct name is "kao pass."


Laptop users are asked to submit three facial photos when creating a user profile.The laptops ship with an integrated 2.0 megapixel camera that scans your features when you want to log on. The scan is then compared to your profile shots by a software program called NeoFace. NeoFace focuses primarily on the eye zone and certain facial features, according to this report from Phsyorg.com.


NEC says its system works even if you try to throw it off with glasses, hats, a different haircut or even facial hair. You know what this means, of course? That's right: Even the classic Groucho Marx get-up won't fool NeoFace.


The article notes the system was originally designed to help with security at borders, within prisons and corporations. Just this past July, NEC unveiled the first system that could identify people inside their cars via facial recognition technology. In fact, the system is used along the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border.


Which kinda makes me wonder why it's big news that the University of Houston is still working on facial recognition software (albeit 3-D) and why the U.S. Department of Homeland Security needs until the end of next year to have a biometrics system in place.


Maybe that's how long it will be until the LaVie C and LaVie L series, both of which will ship with the biometric system, are sold here.


They're priced at around $1,300-$2675 U.S. and are expected to be available later this month. The article includes the laptop's other, less remarkable specs.

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