Skip to main content

Your Next Samsung Phone Could Read Your Palms

Smartphone biometrics are all about scanning your fingerprints, eyes, and face. But Samsung is envisioning a new way to verify your identity.

Credit: Samsung

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung has filed a patent with the Korean patent authority that describes a method by which your smartphone could scan your palm and verify your identity. Samsung's patent envisions you snapping a picture of your palm from a handset and if it's verified, the software would display a pattern that would provide you with a hint at what your phone password is.

In the patent, which was earlier reported on by SamMobile, Samsung is quick to note that its patent isn't a replacement for a face or iris scanner that simply identifies your biometric data and gives you access to the smartphone. Instead, the palm scanner would be used solely as a means for providing you insight into what your smartphone's password might be. No more, no less.

If the patent ever comes to a Samsung smartphone, the scenario would likely go something like this:

Let's say you're using a password to get into your smartphone or an app and can't remember what it is. You'd place your palm in the camera frame and the onboard software would first analyze it to ensure that's your palm and not someone else's. If everything checks out, Samsung would reveal the password along the contours of your palm in a way that wouldn't easily reveal it to someone else. 

MORE: Samsung's Foldable Phone Surprise: New Details Emerge

In the example Samsung gives, the user's password is ABHL. After its software identifies the user's hand, parts of the letters ABHL are placed atop the image of the palm in a seemingly random order. The hint should be enough for you to remember the password and input it.

The patent, in other words, uses a form of augmented reality to identify the features of your hand and place virtual elements strategically over them. 

Of course, the big question is whether this would ever come to a Samsung smartphone. Like other big companies, Samsung files for patents all the time.

But considering the sheer number of ways Samsung identifies a person's identity in its flagship smartphones, adding a palm reader might not be a stretch.

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.