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Here's How the Galaxy S9’s Secret Weapon Works

As the Galaxy S9's launch nears, we're getting more details on what looks like one of the flagship's key features.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The folks over at LetsGoDigital, which have been keeping a close eye on Samsung patent filings of late, have discovered a Samsung patent that describes how the company's Intelligent Scan feature might work. The leak comes after reports surfaced last month that suggested Samsung is working on a new face-and-iris-scanner combination.

Not wanting to be behind the iPhone X's Face ID feature, Samsung has developed a new technology that will use both the Galaxy S9's iris scanner and face scanner to doubly verify a person's identity. It would appear, based on the patent, that the move would make for a more effective face scanner that could compete with the likes of Apple's Face ID.

Credit: LetsGoDigital

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

“Once a user is located at a certain distance from the device (measured by the proximity sensor), the infrared light source module and the iris camera will be switched on to take a picture of the iris," the patent says about the technology, according to LetsGoDigital, whose report was earlier covered by Forbes. "The camera is able to register both eyes, as well as a part of the face."

MORE: Galaxy S9 Leaked Specs: Here's What to Expect

So, when someone tries to unlock the Galaxy S9, Samsung's handset will check both their eyes and their face. With the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 that launched last year, you could only choose one option — face-scanning or iris-scanning.

But Intelligent Scan might not only be available on the Galaxy S9. Instead, Samsung's patent describes how it can be used on everything from cameras to PCs and televisions. 

For its part, Samsung hasn't confirmed that it's even working on a new scanner. However, we won't have long to wait to see what the company has planned. Samsung is holding its Galaxy S9 unveiling a day ahead of this year's Mobile World Congress on Feb. 25.

In addition to a new biometric feature, the Galaxy S9 is expected to come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a nearly identical design to last year's Galaxy S8. But the big focus is going to be on a new camera that promises to be much faster and work better in low light. In fact, some photo samples have already leaked.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.