Amazon Could Be Building a Phone That Unlocks With Your Ear


Forget TouchID. The next smartphone security code could come from your ear. Amazon has patented an ear recognition technology that can identify a user based just on ear shape, as seen through a phone’s front-facing camera. 

The device, according to the patent, could “determine whether the user is holding the device near the user's right ear or left ear, and adjusts functionality of the device based at least in part upon how the user is likely holding the phone” when making a phone call or listening to an audio file. That means the technology could adjust the volume based on your position. 

Image Credit: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Not super convenient for unlocking your phone to text, but it would eliminate having to do any swiping to answer a call. And as far as 

passcodes go, the shape of your ear isn’t a bad one: ear shape largely stays the same throughout our entire lives, and it’s at least as unique as fingerprints—which can be hard to identify in older individuals with looser skin, anyway.

Image Credit: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Using fingerprints as passcodes to unlock your phone and apps is convenient, since many people spend their time swiping, tapping, and texting on their cell phones, not picking up the phone and calling people. But right now, fingerprint identification on phones can be a little finicky—I have at least four “different” fingerprints inputted on my phone to make sure it can read my identity from every angle. The extra effort of raising a phone to your head could prove worthwhile if your ears can actually be read quickly and accurately. [h/t: PSFK]