Samsung patent files reveal palm scanning feature to help you remember passwords
According to the latest reports, Samsung has filed a patent for a technology that uses palm scanning to verify a user’s identity and give password hints.
If you are one of those people who forget passwords often, you know how frustrating this can be on a mobile phone, as most new devices now lock you out of the system after a few unsuccessful tries.
Samsung’s new idea aims to remove the frustration in a pretty original way. Their researchers think that a person’s palm can be an excellent and particularly efficient method to help users remember their passwords.
How does the technology work?
Samsung has compiled a 42-patent, along with pictures that have been made public, and initially it may all look confusing. However, the technology is pretty simple, and probably not too hard to implement.
This is how it works. The camera takes a picture of your palm first; it scans the lines of your palm and checks if they match with your previous record. Thus it makes sure it is you trying to access the system. Then the phone shows you a hint for the password, but not on the phone’s screen, but on the lines of your palm, so only you can see it.
The idea is certainly innovative and promising in terms of security, as someone trying to open your phone would not see what is displayed. In particular, the combination of efficiency (the scanning process only takes a few seconds) and security is what is particularly appealing in this patent.
Samsung representatives have also stressed that this method is not the same as the unlocking methods of iris or fingerprint scanning; its main purpose is to ensure that the person asking for password help is the owner of the phone.
A newcomer in biometric security
While its purpose is distinct, the technology treads further in the path of many existing biometric methods of identification. Most flagship smartphones already use some of these. Samsung offers different forms of security technology, such as facial recognition, an iris scanner and fingerprint scanner.
Apple already uses pretty developed facial recognition for unlocking iPhones, so it is not surprising that Samsung is trying to offer something different from their rival.
Overall, palm scanning adds a new security feature to Samsung’s range, one that has not been used by other manufacturers. It remains a question whether it might become the default option or users would choose for themselves.
Does the patent release mean the technology will definitely be used?
In short, no. Samsung has as yet given no guarantees or dates when the new security feature might start to be implemented in actual phones.
The truth is this is far from certain. Big companies like Samsung file loads of patents, and however exciting they are, they don’t always come to life. Plus, Samsung is still testing the new technology. So, the recent speculations that Samsung will use this feature in its upcoming Galaxy S9 and S9+, which are expected to come out in January 2018, are just that – speculations.
Still, to be fair, palm scanning is a technology that is relatively easy to implement, so it is rational to expect that Samsung might give it a go. This is one advantage over some of Apple’s more complex patents that might take years to develop. Samsung’s palm scanning idea does not sound like too much of a risk.
The question then, of course, is whether the users would embrace it. For now, the reactions and comments have been pretty mixed.