What Exactly is the Dot Projector? Why it is used in iPhone X?

Currently, Apple’s Face ID is the rage in the market as it has given a new authentication standard to Apple smartphone owners. Although it is based on the previous Touch ID technology, but it utilizes the brand new TrueDepth camera system to unlock your phone based on your facial recognition.

Basically, the notched up area on the display of iPhone X houses the TrueDepth camera system which is a set of regular camera, infrared camera, various sensors, and dot projector. All these electronic items work together to create a 3D map of your facial structure in a split second.

What is Dot projector?

dor projector in iphone

The Dot projector in the iPhone X is designed using high intensity LEDs that throws a dotted light pattern of 173 X 173 dots on the face. So, the dot projector is basically a structured light source that has one or two flash component which emits a predetermined light pattern on the face, and all these happen in few milliseconds.

The best part of this dot projector is that it is a lot different than power-hungry laser beams which is traditionally used for 3D imagery. It not only consumes a low amount of power but also offers better 3D depth than traditional systems.

Every face comes with a unique facial structure, so it becomes easy for the dot projector to create an exclusive 3D facial map. So every time you use the Face ID, the infrared camera captures the dot structure, and the neural engines match it with the original map.

The facial 3D map stays within the phone, and they are not uploaded in the iCloud as there are chances of a security breach. So the use of dot projector in the facial recognition system of iPhone X is simple but highly effective.

How a dot projector accomplished its task in the facial recognition system?

Well, Face ID first makes a 3D image, and for that, the dot projector throws 30000 dots on the face of the user within milliseconds. These 30000 dots of light creates and builds a map of your face and then the infrared camera reads the dot structure on your face. This TrueDepth system with the help of your photo, the light dots, and neural engine and ultimately build a mathematical model of your face. The neural engine is a custom chip whose main job is to identify people, objects, and scrutinize data.

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However, this whole phenomenon is not a one-time process rather dynamic system which continues to evolve so that it can recognize your face if you wear glass, change hairstyle or grow bears. While creating the dots, the projectors require your eye to stay wide so that no one can unlock your phone while you are asleep. After successful creation of the map, the Apple 11 Bionic chipset analyze the map, and it is then tallied with the data stored in the Secure Enclave of the phone.

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt is a Product Marketing Manager at Instart Logic. He completed graduation in marketing from the University of Arizona. He was a product manager at Kissmetrics. Previously he worked for some renowned companies like Insight Product Development, Wind River Corporation, Keyence Corporation. He conducted a lot of webinar as a guest speaker.

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