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Samsung eyes new biometric sensors for mobile devices

The company could offer iris detection in smartphones to improve security, one Samsung executive says.

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Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The new biometric technology that Samsung is eying may actually have something to do with eyes.

Speaking to analysts at an investor forum Monday, Samsung Senior Vice President Rhee In-jong said his company is examining ways to increase the use of biometrics in smartphones. He indicated that Samsung is especially interested in "iris detection," which enables a smartphone to scan (likely with the front-facing camera) the user's eyes to determine whether the iris matches what the device has on-file.

Biometric technology is becoming a highly sought-after feature in mobile security. Apple, Samsung, and other major tech companies have bundled biometrics into their higher-end devices. Samsung's Galaxy S5 and Apple's iPhone 5S, for example, feature a fingerprint scanner as part of their security package.

The next frontier in biometric technology is iris detection, Rhee said at Monday's forum. He believes that the technology will come first to high-end devices, and then make its way to lower-end products.

Rhee didn't say when iris detection might come to a Samsung device.

CNET has contacted Samsung for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.