Amazon patents ear recognition for smartphones but only after Apple

Posted on 17 Jun 2015 by Aiden Burgess

Amazon has created a new patent which could make unlocking your smart phone as simple as pressing it to your ear.

Amazon’s ear recognition patent refers to an electronic device that captures an image of a person’s ear and recognises the smart phone user.

The device analyses the person’s ear shape (which can be as unique as a fingerprint) and adjusts the functionality of the phone accordingly, allowing owners to utilise their phone for specific purposes such as receiving a call or listening to music without having to unlock their phones manually.

The ear recognition technology will also allow the user to automatically switch to or from speakerphone and also adjust the speaker volume based on the distance from the phone to the user’s ear.

Researchers have stated previously that the ear is one of the most reliable biometric identification devices as it does not change much as someone ages.

The patent was first filed in 2011, three years before Amazon released its first Fire Phone.

Amazon’s ear recognition technology is an attempt by the company to differentiate itself from other big players in the smartphone market, by providing a technology that helps advance the ease of use of its product.

Amazon has said it will eventually release another model of its Fire Phone, but it is unclear whether it will feature the new ear-scanning technology.

While Amazon first filed their patent for an ear recognition device in 2011, several years earlier Apple filed a patent for an integrated sensing display, which the company proposed to use as a camera for ear recognition in its iPhone in 2009.

Apple has as yet chosen not to implement the technology could forseeably introduce its own ear recognition technology using its own patent.