Vivo shows face unlock for smartphones with 300,000 pixels

Smartphone maker Vivo has shown a prototype of a technique for facial unlocking on smartphones using a time-of-flight sensor. It has 300,000 pixels, which makes many more applications possible, Vivo reports.

The 3D Sensing technique can recognize objects up to three meters away, reports Vivo. In addition, it can recognize much more detail than comparable sensors by using 300,000 points in the image. Apple’s implementation Face ID uses 30,000 pixels.

Vivo mentions that 3D Sensing works with a cool sensor and light rays, but does not clarify whether it is visible light or infrared radiation. Face ID works with infrared. A time-of-flight system calculates the time between when the light beam leaves the LED and when the sensor re-enters it. Because light always travels at the same speed, the software can calculate the precise distance.

The manufacturer announced the technology at an Asian telecom fair, but is not commenting on whether or when it will appear in products. Vivo thinks it can use 3D Sensing for face unlocking, motion-controlled games such as Microsoft Kinect and fitting clothes via augmented reality.

Vivo is a relatively unknown Chinese brand in the West, although it has been trying to gain more fame lately. It does this, among other things, by presenting the first smartphones with a fingerprint scanner behind the screen, sponsoring the World Cup for men in Russia and the announcement of the Nex, a full-screen smartphone with extendable front camera.