March 23, 2018


It’s universally agreed that iPhones are revolutionary phones, and with each new generation comes new features to shake the world of technology; first came touchscreen, then came fingerprint scanners, and with Apple’s latest iPhone X comes Face ID. So what could Apple have next on the cards?  One can only wonder. For now at least, it’s all about Face ID.

Face ID: Apple’s most intriguing and impressive new featureSince the iPhone X was released back in 2017, the Face ID technology really captured people’s imaginations, as well as their faces. Equal parts convenient and revolutionary have made other tech giants want their own products to utilise Face ID. Android in particular has seen the popularity of Apple’s new feature and is trying to emulate it, but as the technology is rather advanced, it probably won’t be realised by Apple’s rivals until next year.

However you might be surprised that Face ID wasn’t actually invented by Apple, in fact it could be argued that Apple merely introduced Face ID to a mainstream audience. The first use of such technology was back in the 1960’s by a man named Woodrow Wilson Bledsoe, who published a report in 1963 named “A Proposal for a Study to Determine the Feasibility of a Simplified Face Recognition Machine”, which as the title suggested was about using machinery to solve facial identification problems using a picture of a person. A year later, he published a Facial Recognition Project Report where he experimented with more complex facial recognition problems, by angling the picture in different ways and using different lighting to see if the machine could still identify the person in the picture.

Since then, Facial recognition has evolved in different ways, for example the law enforcement utilised the technology in the Super Bowl in 2002, to identify criminals and make sure they are not breaking any laws. Another way in which the majority of internet users have been exposed to this type of technology has been right under our noses since 2010, when Facebook introduced its ‘tagging’ feature, which was being used in the millions of images being uploaded to the application every day.

Face ID: Apple’s most intriguing and impressive new feature


Recently, there has been some controversy over Facial identification being used without people’s knowledge. There have been accusations that Madison Square Garden has secretly used it for security purposes, in order to identify people who could be “considered a problem”. It seems that the general public doesn’t like it when they are being scanned without their knowledge.

With a rich, and surprisingly long, history of facial recognition technology, what could be next for this sometimes harmless/sometimes controversial technology?

Further Reading

More recent uses of it too.

How Face Identification works in simple terms

A history of the uses of Face Identification:

Android will be 2 years behind Apple in terms of utilising Face ID:

Dr Bledsoe’s facial recognition experiments:

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