Samsung Galaxy S10 5G gets 3D Face Unlock Feature with One UI 2.0 Update

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G was announced in February and was released back in April 2019. The 5G variant of the Galaxy S10 had a Time of Flight (ToF) sensor in the front punch hole notch and it wasn’t heavily advertised by Samsung.

The ToF sensor on the S10 5G was till now being used for optical depth effect in portrait selfies. Samsung didn’t include 3D face unlock feature in the software of the S10 5G back then. With the launch of the Android 10 based One UI 2.0 for the S10 5G, Samsung is now including the 3D face unlock feature on the S10 5G. The 3D face unlock will use the previously unused Time of Flight sensors present in the front facing hole punch notch on the S10 5G.

Galaxy S10 5G gets 3D Face Unlock Feature

The report arises from the twitter handle @TEQHNIKACROSS who posted in Korean which, when translated from Korean, read “In the latest beta firmware for Galaxy S10 5G, 3D facial recognition using a ToF sensor has been added.”. He further added that the face unlock on the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will now be as secure as the face unlock feature in Apple’s iPhones.

The iPhones currently have only one form of biometric verification which is the 3D face unlock feature. However, the Galaxy S10 5G now has two kinds of secure biometric verification features – the 3D face unlock using the front facing Time of Flight sensors and Fingerprint unlock using the In-Display fingerprint sensor.

2D vs 3D Face Unlock on the Galaxy S10 5G

Face unlock was a feature on the S10 5G since it was launched. However, the smartphone used 2D face unlock that only utilized the front facing camera for facial recognition and not the 3D depth sensing ToF sensor beside it. This resulted in a less secure form of face unlock which could be broken by using an image of the owner. With the One UI 2.0 software update for the S10 5G, Samsung has fixed this issue.

The twitter handle also posted an image of the ToF sensor in effect where it can be seen how the sensor captures the 3D facial recognition data of the owner’s face to unlock the device.

A normal front facing camera uses regular light sensors to get the information as a two-dimensional image. However, a Time of Flight sensor uses an infrared blast to illuminate the face and gets the light as well as time for the light to bounce back from surfaces to get the depth of the surfaces in the image as well. The red beam in the image is the infrared blast which cannot be seen by the naked eye but can be seen using a mobile phone camera. A similar technology is used in night vision cameras.

How to get the 3D Face Unlock Feature on your S10 5G?

If you want to have the 3D face unlock feature on your Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, you have to wait for the One UI 2.0 update which hasn’t officially released yet. The One UI 2.0 beta for the S10 5G is released in Korea and is expected to be released in other regions soon. You can update to the One UI 2.0 beta once it is released in your region or you can wait for the stable version to release. 

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