Per the patent — invented by Robert Mikio Free — Methods, systems , and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on a computer storage medium, are disclosed for reducing the impact of lighting conditions and biometric distortions, while providing a low-computation solution for reasonably effective (low threshold) face recognition.
In one aspect, the methods include processing a captured image of a face of a user seeking to access a resource by conforming a subset of the captured face image to a reference model. The reference model corresponds to a high information portion of human faces.
The methods further include comparing the processed captured image to at least one target profile corresponding to a user associated with the resource, and selectively recognizing the user seeking access to the resource based on a result of said comparing.
Here’s Apple’s background on the invention: “Most face recognition systems fall into one of two categories. A first category system tends to be robust and can tackle various lighting conditions, orientations, scale and the like, and tends to be computationally expensive.
”A second category system is specialized for security-type applications and can work under controlled lighting conditions. Adopting the first category systems for face recognition on consumer operated portable appliances that are equipped with a camera would unnecessarily use an appliance’s computing resources and drain its power.
“Moreover, as the consumer portable appliances tend to be used both indoor and outdoor, the second category systems for face recognition may be ineffective. Such ineffectiveness may be further exacerbated by the proximity of the user to the camera, i.e., small changes in distance to and tilt of the appliance’s camera dramatically distort features, making traditional biometrics used in security-type face recognition ineffective.”