Forget Fingerprints, Amazon Working On Ear-Unlock Feature For Phones

Could answering your phone in the future be as simple as pressing it to your ear? It could be if Amazon’s latest patent ever makes it to the real world.

The new patent details the tech company’s work to create a system aimed at simplifying the way smartphone owners use and access the technology in their phones, The Next Web reports.

A rendering of the technology from Amazon's patent.

A rendering of the technology from Amazon’s patent shows how certain points of one’s ear might be used under the new system.

This is Amazon’s attempt to resolve consumers’ dueling desires for increased privacy and advanced ease of use.

“While various software applications offer differing levels of personalization, many electronic devices such as cellular phones and tablet computers still have fixed inputs for various buttons or other input elements of the device,” the patent states. “Even where some level of personalization is enabled, such as at various levels of a user interface, the user typically must login or enter other identifying information for the device, which can be frustrating if the user needs to repeatedly enter the information.”

And so, Amazon has created a technology that not only simplifies how users answer their phones, but also automatically adjusts certain preferences such as speaker volume depending on the ear being used.

The system works by taking a photo of a user’s ear – which is reportedly an equally unique identifier as a fingerprint – with the phone’s front camera and comparing it to a photo previously captured by the user and subsequently stored in a database.

The ear recognition input would then let owners utilize their device for certain purposes like receiving a call or listening to an audio file without first manually unlocking their phones.

“In some embodiments, the device analyzes the captured information to determine whether the user is holding the device near the user’s right ear or left ear, and adjusts functionality of the device based at least in part upon how the user is likely holding the phone,” the patent states. “In other embodiments, the device attempts to recognize the user based on ear shape or other parameters, and can provide customized functionality of the device based at least upon that determination.”

It’s unclear when or if Amazon truly plans to incorporate the new technology into its Fire phones.

Amazon wants you to unlock your next phone with your ear [The Next Web]

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