Samsung could be looking to branch into palm reading sometime in the near future, but not to gain insight into your love life.
Recent patent filings by the South Korean electronics giant show that the company may be investing in yet another means of biometric scanning. Samsung’s palm recognition technology would join other biometrics, such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, along with standard passwords, pin numbers, and patterns as a means of securing your device.
The patent shows that this functionality is meant to deliver password hints to the user — it won’t unlock the phone directly. The filing includes an image of a user taking a photo of a hand and using the lines in the palm to complete letters on the device’s screen.
These letters are supposed to provide a subtle hint at the password. However, Samsung could theoretically extend the capabilities of this function to allow the palm scans to unlock the device directly.
Some may question the need for yet another bio-scanning capability. Apple, Samsung’s chief competitor in the mobile phone market, has done away with all biometric security features other than facial recognition in their top-of-the-line iPhone X.
The use of biometrics, in general, is also still fairly controversial. While these features may be more secure and convenient than traditional passwords or pins, they also carry some unique weaknesses. A person’s fingerprint can be lifted off another surface and used to hack their phone, or someone could even use a sleeping person’s finger to unlock their device.
Samsung’s palm recognition feature is just a patent, and it may never actually make it into a device. However, with each new potential security feature, companies need to ensure safety is always the top priority. Convenience cannot trump security in terms of importance for consumers.