Infrared-LEDs from Osram enable face recognition in Smartwatches

Sept. 17, 2019

Infrared-LEDs from Osram enable face recognition in Smartwatches


The two smallest biometric identification products to date expand Osram's photonics portfolio and open promising new areas of application


The more we rely on our digital companions, the more important the security of sensitive data on our Smartphone or Smartwatch becomes. Various methods of biometric identification provide the user with security and form a reliable "lock" against unwanted access. For manufacturers of mobile devices, the size of the individual components plays a central role in the design of their products. Osram's new infrared-LEDs (IREDs) SFH 4170S and SFH 4180S meet this demand by being the smallest biometric products by the Munich-based high-tech company.


Smartwatches are continuing to increase in popularity and capabilities. In contrast to smartphones, where the screen can't seem to be big enough, smart watches continue to become smaller in size. The particularly compact dimensions of the specially developed Oslon P1616 package (1.6 mm x 1.6 mm x 0.85 mm) make the SFH 4170S and SFH 4180S the smallest Osram components for biometric applications. Compared to similar products today, the two IREDs require about 50 percent less space.


Despite the small dimensions, the IREDs uphold an outstanding power of 1150 mW at 1 A and a radiation intensity of 280 mW/sr. These characteristics are particularly important for 2D face recognition. This identification method focuses on two-dimensional features of the user's face, such as, the length of the bridge of the nose, the distance between the eyes or between the corners of the mouth. In order to reliably compare the image stored in the system with the current picture, the infrared camera must be able to capture the best possible images – making homogeneous illumination of the face with an infrared light source a central aspect of this application.


Depending on where the IREDs are ultimately used, customers can choose between the 850 nm (SFH 4170S) or the 940 nm (SFH 4180S) version. While the SFH 4170S benefits from the very high sensitivity of the sensors in this wavelength range, the SFH 4180S avoids the "red glow" effect, which can be seen by the human eye and is particularly unpopular in consumer applications.


"Biometric identification is becoming increasingly more important as a secure solution to authenticate a user’s identity, but the challenge is how to incorporate all of the sophisticated technology into smaller and smaller form factors," said Eric Kuerzel, Product Marketing Manager at Osram Opto Semiconductors. "The compact size of our two new IREDs make it easier for our clients to integrate security into devices such as smartwatches, giving their customers a more powerful way to protect their sensitive data.”


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