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Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Phone with Face Recognition

Vodafone unveiled on Tuesday a new handset from Sharp that includes a number of features including a VGA (video graphics array) resolution screen and face-recognition security system.

The 904SH handset will go on sale in Japan on April. Its VGA screen with 480 pixels by 640 pixels.

Security system authenticates that the face of the person trying to use the phone matches its pre-registered owner. The security system uses a small camera positioned under the main display. It is based on technology from Oki Electric and is capable of authenticating within 1 second whether the face of the person trying to use the phone matches that of the pre-registered owner.

Should recognition fail, for example, in a dark room, a back up system involving a question and answer can be used.

Other features of the 904SH include support for network-based software upgrades. This allows users to download new and updated firmware across the network when required. At present upgrades typically need a visit to a service center or shop.

The 904SH has a 3.2-megapixel camera with 2X optical zoom. This latter support means it is possible to use the handset as a touch-and-go transport pass on railways in the Tokyo area and for payment in convenience stores and other shops that accept the Edy e-money system.

A prototype of the phone was shown at the 3GSM World Congress in Europe earlier this month.

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