Facial recognition is cropping up everywhere. From shopping malls to the workplace, it’s likely you get your face scanned by something daily. But rather than intruding your privacy, facial recognition is supposed to protect digital life from pries. Forbes has newly used a 3D printed head modelled after the author’s head to test different series of smartphone face-recognition systems. The 3D head model was printed at Backface in Birmingham, U.K., in a dome-like studio that contains 50 cameras. Altogether, they combine to take a single shot which makes up a full 3D image. It took a few days to produce a final model which cost over £300.
If you’re an Android customer, though, look away from your screen now. We tested four of the hottest handsets running Google’s Android operating systems and Apple’s iPhone to see how convenient it’d be to penetrate into them. It was achieved with just a 3D-printed head. All of the Androids unlocked with the fake model. But however, Apple’s phone was impenetrable. The Android phones tested included the Samsung S9, Samsung Note 8, LG G7 ThinQ, and OnePlus 6.
The facial recognition on many Android phones is less secure when compared to Apple’s Face ID system. Just a simple photograph has been used to trick some of those face recognition systems. Apple’s Face ID, however, uses an infrared camera, an attention awareness technology, a depth sensor and a dot projector to map out 30,000 points on your face creating an artificial 3D scan and making it more secure. With the attention awareness feature alone, this is enough to explain the inability for a static 3D printed head to unlock the iPhone X. That said, the iPhone X’s Face ID has been fooled in the past with more complex printed 3D heads. Thus, it is best not to rely on Face ID entirely for digital security.