Samsung And SRI Are Coming Together To Make Iris Scanning Mainstream On Mobile Devices

In step with Apple's move towards fingerprint recognition technology with the introduction of the iPhone 5S, Samsung introduced similar (yet by all accounts not as good) functionality when their Galaxy S5 bowed last spring. Now, though, just a year later, Samsung looks to be pointing the finger elsewhere, coming together with the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) to bring iris-scanning technology to their future mobile products.


SRI, an independent non-profit research institute, already offers its award-winning Iris on the Move (IoM) biometric system via various SRI-branded products, including their IOM PassThru Drive-up Iris Recognition System (used to control vehicle entry points) and IOM RapID-Cam II Handheld Biometric System (which allows for iris and facial image recognition in the field). The exclusive license of IoM to Korean technology behemoth Samsung for use in its mobile products that was finalized this week, though, is sure to bring a much larger potential market to the R&D company's door. 

"The next-generation IOM iris recognition solution will create new applications and markets and increase adoption in existing markets," said Mark Clifton, SRI International's President of Products and Solutions. 

Samsung's adoption of iris scanning recognition gives the company a friction-free transition out of the 
fingerprint scanner, offering a secure login method that SRI says is "1,000 times" more accurate in terms of user authentication. And the company has already determined that their first application of SRI's Iris on the Move system will be in their business products, with SRI's announcement of the alliance revealing that an IoM iris module will be built into a customer Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 to be demonstrated in the SIA New Product Showcase at next month's ISC West trade show in Las Vegas (the U.S.'s largest security industry trade show). Thereafter, the device will be available worldwide via SRI partners and resellers. 

Samsung has been looking at the human eye as a lynchpin in its mobile ecosystem for some time, employing technology to stop scrolling and video playback when users look away from the screen. The company has also previously showed off their eye smarts with Smart Rotation, which prevents screen rotation into Landscape mode based on the orientation of a user's face. It has been known for some time, in fact, that Samsung itself was working on iris recognition, with the company filing a number of patents in 2013 to that effect.

Now, in accordance with SRI, Samsung is in a position to prove the viability of the technology in mobile devices, and assuming success with the Galaxy Tab 8.4 the company can be expected to deploy it throughout their mobile product line in the foreseeable future.