MWC 2024: Harvard Labs’ Polar ID sensor with Samsung may just find its way into your future phone

What smartphone lock feature do you use frequently? Passcode, fingerprint scanner or Face ID? While the Face ID system has become one of the most preferred concepts in most devices, the technology is quite expensive. Therefore, to bring a cost-effective facial recognition technology to unlock devices, an optics-based Harvard Labs startup called Metalenz has partnered with Samsung. The centre of attention is its Polar ID face-detecting sensor. The new Polar ID sensor is said to be more secure and affordable than the current technology found in smartphones.

Polar ID sensor by Metalenz

At the Mobile World Conference (MWC) 2024, Metalenz announced the collaboration with Samsung to launch a more cost-effective and secure version of facial recognition technology. The Polar ID is reported to be using meta-optic technology to create a unique “polarization signature”. This unique identification utilizes each person’s facial features by analyzing the polarization state of light. The technique also meets all the requirements for Samsung Electronics’ ISOCELL Vizion 931.

Rob Devlin, Metalenz CEO and co-founder said, “Leveraging the performance and scale of Samsung’s ISOCELL Vizion 931 image sensor allows our Polar ID cameras to quickly and efficiently determine the polarization information in a scene, from which our imaging algorithms and machine learning models authenticate the Polar ID images.” This new technology by Metalenz is said to be 50 percent cheaper, small in size and provides improved performance than the current face lock technology, enabling smartphone companies to adopt this feature for more of their devices.

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The company says, “With this additional layer of information, even the most sophisticated 3D masks and spoof instruments are immediately detected as non-human.” Additionally, Polar ID provides a 10x more resolution than current technology as it can work in any lighting conditions, daylight and nighttime, indoor and outdoor. This technology will not only benefit companies bringing affordable technology but also the consumers to take advantage of more effective and secured phone lock systems.

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