Smartphone makers are hot on biometrics, and Samsung may put iris-scanning biometric technology into its phones.

Speaking at an investor forum Monday, Samsung vice president Rhee In-jong said his company is very interested in biometrics in phones, especially iris-detection technology. Rhee said he expects more biometric technology to begin showing up in high-end phones, then make its way down to lower-priced phones.

A phone outfitted with eye-scanning technology would most likely use the front facing camera to scan the unique patterns in the user’s iris. Once a match is made with an image of the user’s iris stored in the phone, the user could be given access to the device.

Smartphone makers have been interested in adding biometrics to their products for some time now. Apple and Samsung were the first to move: Apple built fingerprint-reading technology into its iPhone 5, and Samsung added the same security feature to its Galaxy S5.

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While security seems to be the main focus of eye-scanning technology in mobile devices, some startups are developing technology that uses eye movements to direct navigation on the screens of tablets and PCs. Samsung, too, has said it’s experimenting with navigation using eye movement and head movement.

Iris detection is just one form of eye scanning for security purposes. One startup is developing software that scans the tiny veins in the whites of the eyes. Others focus the camera lens on the user’s pupil.


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