Iris Scanning May Be the Next Big Step in Security

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    Device security was, is and always will be a big issue. The main security tool to date, of course, is the password, but to put it bluntly, not too many people are fans. Fingerprint scanning has made some headway over the years. Iris scanning is another approach that has been around the periphery for many years, and there are signs that it’s on the verge of becoming more common.

    Last month, Samsung released the Galaxy Note7 which, WirelessWeek’s Diana Goovaerts notes, comes with iris scanning. The story features an interview with Delta ID CEO Salil Prabhakar, who is not a fan of voice recognition and palm reading technology, for convenience and accuracy issues. Fingerprint and iris scanning score higher, at least with Prabhakar, who said that iris scanning offers the same level of security as six-digit personal identification numbers.

    It is useful to have an idea of how iris scanning works. Lamont Wood at Computerworld takes a close look; the first differentiation is that a person’s iris, barring injury, remains the same throughout his or her life. That is not true for other biometric markers. There are also a lot of places to check: An iris has 225 points of comparison. A fingerprint only has 40. Vendors are reluctant to deeply detail how their systems work due to fear that they will become targets.

    Iris scanning is becoming less expensive as off-the-shelf camera technology becomes more sophisticated. A separate camera is necessary, however. Wood notes that, in addition to the Galaxy Note7, iris scanning is a feature of the Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL, the Fujitsu Arrows NX-F-04G, the ZTE Nubia Prague S and the HP Elite x3.

    Rumors are reported (appropriately) at MacRumors, that the iPhone 8 will have iris scanning. That report came from Chinese-language MoneyDJ. Cult of Mac suggests that the Apple/iris scanning chatter is due to the filing of trademarks by what the piece says may be Apple shell companies on an “Iris Engine.” The filings were spotted by a patent attorney, the story said.

    Iris scanning is showing up in devices and may be on the iPhone 8 and other Apple devices. It’s also getting interest from at least one big manufacturer. Osram, a provider of LED technology and products, is shifting $112 million (100 million euro) to making chips aimed at iris scanning for smartphone and virtual reality applications, according to Reuters.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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