Sensory debuts a smartphone lock keyed to both your voice and your face

Face in a magnifying glass

Speech recognition company Sensory is expanding into the computer vision space with a new smartphone security client that uses both voice and face recognition to lock down your phone.

If you’ve ever owned a Samsung, Motorola, LG or Pantech Android phone, chances are you’ve used Sensory’s speech recognition technology. While Sensory doesn’t do the deep natural language processing used to parse a search request in the cloud, its low-power speech processing software is constantly running on the phone, powering the first level of voice commands on many devices.

OK Google Now

For instance, when using Google Now, Google is analyzing your actually information requests in the cloud via your phone’s data connection. But Sensory’s on-board technology listens for the initial “OK Google” wake-up call that informs the phone a more detailed request is forthcoming, said Todd Mozer, Sensory founder and CEO.

The company has been developing visual interface and machine learning technologies as well, and it’s now combining the two in its new client, called TrulySecure. According to Mozer, Sensory wanted to create a more foolproof phone lock by using multiple biometric technologies, but it also wanted to avoid forcing more sensors and hardware like fingerprint scanners on the device.

Supporting multiple biometrics, though, also makes the phone’s locking system more flexible, Mozer said. Device makers can apply the security in layers and create a phone lock than can adapt to environmental conditions. For instance, when background noise levels are high, making voice authentication more difficult, the client could be programmed to rely more heavily on face recognition. The opposite would apply in low-light conditions.

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The combination of authentication methods could also create different levels of security for different functions of the phone. For instance a consumer might set his phone to unlock through either a positive voice or face verification, but then require both forms of authentication to approve an on-device purchase or access a banking app, Mozer said.

Sensory is making the TrulySecure app SDK available to its device and developer partners starting today.

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