LG Electronics was awarded a patent for a complex mobile iris scanner meant to be implemented into Android devices, as revealed by a new set of documents published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and originally spotted by Dutch tech blog LetsGoDigital. The South Korean original equipment manufacturer originally filed for the patent at the beginning of June and is now able to commercialize it as its own proprietary technology, though it’s currently unclear whether it has any immediate plans to do so.
The company has been rumored to be working on a consumer-ready mobile iris scanner for years now, with some industry insiders previously claiming it will implement such a solution into the LG G6, which didn’t come to pass. With Samsung now developing its third generation of iris scanners meant to be featured in the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, its domestic and global rival may finally be ready to follow suit. The module described by the newly unveiled patent doesn’t appear to be a dedicated iris scanner like the one seen on the Galaxy S8 lineup and the Galaxy Note 8 but a front-facing camera with biometric authentication capabilities. The Seoul-based company also described some anti-spoofing features of the device such as an authentication method asking users to follow a certain light path drawn on the screen with their eye so as to verify someone isn’t trying to trick the security system with a photograph. All concept sketches of the solution attached to LG’s patent can be seen in the gallery below.
The tech giant already showcased one similar creation at Korea Electronics Show 2016 but has yet to commercialize it. With biometric authentication now gradually becoming a staple of premium smartphones due to the backing of major device makers like Samsung and Apple, LG may be ready to embrace that trend as early as next year, with two of its likeliest candidates for such a system being the G7 and V40. While the latter isn’t expected to launch until next fall, the former should be unveiled at the next iteration of Mobile World Congress which is starting in late February.