Vivo’s new face ID tech

Vivo which has been taking the lead in the production of phones without bezels this year, has made an announcement of another technology. It has produced a 3D sensing system that senses depth and has 300,000 sensor points, which is in fact ten times the number in Apple’s Face ID on iPhone X. The way this new tech works is by sending a pulse of light and calculating the “time of flight” (TOF), that means, the time it will take the light to bounce back to its sensor. According to Vivo, it can enable 3D mapping at a distance of about three metres from the phone. The position of the ID tech is going to be at the front of the phone very close to the selfie cameras.

This tech is widely termed “structured light” and although it has been considered by companies such as Oppo, none have thought it wise to include it. In accordance with the demonstration Vivo made of its TOF 3D sensor at the MWC in Shanghai last week, the company is now officially among the first Android vendors to compete directly with Apple’s Face ID.

A senior executive at Vivo said that, “By combining TOF 3D Sensing Technology with AI, we will continue to explore new possibilities for a better future.” One of the ideas Vivo had in mind was to take a full-body scan of an individual and then transfer the data to an AI that would beautify that person in a smart and proportionate manner. The other idea was to make use of full-body scans to virtually check out some clothes.

Aside from the applications of biometric authentication and a better portrait mode for selfies, the 3D sensor could also be used to recognise motions and gestures. It could also enable applications of new AR or the scanning of furniture and other items.

The press release for Vivo’s TOF 3D sensor promises that “this is no mere proof of concept,” though the company hasn’t given an exact timeline for when the technology will be commercialized in an actual phone.

The press release for the TOF 3D sensor assures that “this is no mere proof of concept.” Although the company has not yet provided a precise time for the release and eventually commercialization of the technology in a phone.


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