A new app called FaceVault brings facial recognition and pattern-based unlocking to iOS.
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It works just like Facial Unlock on Android's Ice Cream Sandwich, but there's a key difference -- Apple is much more strict about what goes on its lockscreen.
Though Apple had previously rejected this kind of facial recognition app, FaceVault marks the first time you can turn your smartphone into a "virtual safe-deposit box" with your mug. The app uses your iDevice's front-facing camera and the Eigenface algorithm -- considered to be the most advanced technology in facial recognition -- to analyze your face.
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"The algorithm can ignore the fact that you're wearing glasses or a new makeup look, and still unlock the app," Robert Neagu, the app's creator, told Wired via email.
When the facial recognition system fails, you're redirected to another screen, where you can unlock the app with a pattern-based code. FaceVault also adds a layer of security to your camera by keeping an archive of login attempts -- so you can keep track of potential break-ins.
However, the security of FaceVault does have some caveats. On the app's description page, it states, "FaceRecognition is less secure than a Pattern," "Someone who looks similar to you could unlock this app" and "You must have an active internet connection to perform recognition." And unlike the Android, you can't choose the pattern-based lock system over the facial lock system on FaceVault.
However, we wonder if Apple might adopt something like this in the future. Patently Apple reported the company filed a patent for face and presence detection security in 2010. And this wouldn't be the first time an Android feature came to iOS. Remember the notification center update?
You can try out the FaceVault app by purchasing it at the iTunes store for $0.99.
Have you already tried FaceVault? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.
Thumbnail courtesy of Apple
This story originally published on Mashable here.