Discover the Iris Scanner of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in depth

Unveiled at the beginning of the month, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 features a new exciting feature : an Iris Scanner. This new feature is essential to help users to keep their personal data safe. The Iris Scanner completes other Samsung’s security features like the fingerprint scanner and the Knox security platform.

Samsung’s fingerprint scanner has been widely used to ensure devices security and is used on Samsung Pay for example. The Iris Scanner, embedded in the Galaxy Note 7, provides to users an additional form of authentication reinforcing security. With the Iris Scanner, users don’t even need to touch their smartphone to verify their identity. They just have to look at their device’s screen to complete the authentication process.

Iris scanning technology is a biometric method of identification using mathematical pattern recognition of images for an individual’s iris. To acquire these images, the device scans the iris. To better understand what is the iris of an eye, look at the following figure :

The iris is the thin colored ring inside eyes. It lets humans to regulate the amount of light reaching the retina. The great thing about the iris is that each human has an uniquely different and highly intricate iris pattern in each eye. Note that the iris is completely developed at a very young age and remains unchanged during the entire lifetime. This property combined with the fact that iris patterns are almost impossible to replicate makes iris scanning one of the most secure and reliable biometric techniques available. And now, it’s available for all the users of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and not only reserved for access control in border control or airport security. With that innovation, Samsung brings Biometrics to the Smartphone. A new era can start.

When an user scans his iris information with the Galaxy Note 7, it is stored as an encrypted code. Then, if an user attempts to authenticate with the Iris feature, the infrared (IR) LED and Iris Camera work together to capture the iris pattern for recognition. The pattern is digitized and compared to the encrypted code to verify access. All the process is summarized in the following figure :

A big concern for Samsung was to enable iris recognition without sacrificing the design of the new Galaxy Note 7. To achieve that, the device features a dedicated iris camera, which uses a special image filter to receive and recognize the reflected images of the irises with a red IR LED light. A best range is possible for iris scanning with this red light. Unlike traditional RGB images, infrared images display clear patterns and have low light reflection. The images are not affected by iris color or ambient light. The technology created by Samsung works also very well in low light environments. On the following figure, you can see where the IR LED and the iris camera are on Galaxy Note 7 :

By working together, these two new components ensure that the iris reading process is accurate and quick. The iris scanning has even better results than fingerprint scanning for acceptance. For the more anxious user, note that your iris data are encrypted and stored in the hardware via the Knox platform. It’s the same way the fingerprint data are stored by Samsung in its devices. Furthermore, just one user can register his iris information.

To conclude, it’s important to say that the IR LED of the Galaxy Note 7 is safe and has no health implications for the users. It has received a certification from the International Electrotechnical Commission. And you, are you convinced by this new exciting feature from Samsung ? Are you impatient to have the iris scanning feature on your next device ?