Windows 10 Hello – is facial recognition the end of passwords?

Last week Microsoft made yet more announcements about integrated features being introduced in upcoming build of Windows 10. Their goal is to continue to personalize users’ computing experiences across all of their devices.  So far, we’ve seen hints of this in features such as Cortana. One of the features they announWindows Hellowced last week is Windows Hello.

Windows Hello uses biometric authentication which allows the user to have instant access to his devices without having to enter a password or PIN. The user will just present his face or touch his finger to his Windows 10 device configured with Hello to be immediately recognized. This recognition can propagate this user’s authentication beyond the initial device to applications, enterprise resources and even online services. Microsoft touts that Windows Hello is more secure than using passwords since no encrypted data is stored or presented on any network.

To enable Windows Hello, you must have a device equipped with hardware compatible with the feature. Existing devices equipped with a fingerprint reader are reported to be supported by Windows Hello. For facial biometric scanning, you will need a device equipped with an infrared camera. The facial recognition software is reported to be based on technology currently used in the Kinect camera in Xbox. Windows Hello facial recognition must be able to operate in a wide range of lighting conditions, and it must not be fooled by a picture of the user or disguises such as makeup or facial hair.

For iris scan recognition, devices will need to be equipped with high-end cameras which will likely be more expensive than personal use devices. This technology, however, may be used heavily in government and military environments.

Intel’s 3D camera, RealSense™, is reported as being supported by Windows Hello. You can find RealSense™ offered in a variety of laptop and all-in-one devices including models from Asus, HP, Dell, Acer and Lenovo. You can learn more about RealSense technology on Intel’s website.


You can watch Microsoft’s video introducing Windows Hello here.


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