MediaTek claims that its new Active Stereo will beat Apple Face ID
Unlocking a screen using a face has become quite popular over the last few years. For example, Apple has turned to Face ID to handle the entirety of the biometric authentication available on the iPhone X. It works using a custom-built blaster and receiver that maps the user's face using approximately 30,000 data points. This creates a highly-detailed form of facial recognition, which is also powered by a dedicated part of the A11 processor to adapt to superficial or transient alterations to authenticate a particular face.
The main alternative to Face ID is Face Unlock, a feature in the Android OS that is based on recognizing a face based on a light-based image taken with the selfie camera of a phone. It may be accurate and snappy, but can also be less secure than Face ID. However, MediaTek wants to change that.
The Taiwanese company has an upcoming competitor for Face ID based on infrared (IR) technology. It is composed of dual IR sensors (which may explain its name: Active Stereo). They absorb the radiation that emanates from Active Stereo's IR projector and reflects off a face. Active Stereo also incorporates algorithms and machine-learning for facial recognition, as well as acceleration for depth-sensing features.
MediaTek appears to think that Active Stereo will be very easy and feasible for them to implement. This may be because it already technically exists: all its components are currently in use by phones powered by the company's Helio P60 and P22 chipsets to enhance the beautification and bokeh effects of their cameras. However, it remains to be seen if the MediaTek phones of the future can in fact beat those of Apple in terms of facial unlocking.