Sometimes, an idea comes along that just seems so obvious, it’s confounding to understand how nobody thought to try it before. One big issue smartphones tackle today is that of authentication: how should the phone verify that you are indeed its owner? From the humble days of passwords, we’ve seen technology advance to support things like face unlock, fingerprint authentication, or even LG’s knock-based system. But think about your day-to-day life; when you’re accepting a package, cashing a check, or paying for lunch with your credit card, how do you identify yourself? With your signature, right? Now a new patent application suggests that Samsung could be taking this idea to smartphones, adding a handwriting unlock mode to a future Galaxy Note model.
The patent is relatively straightforward, describing a system in which users first train the phone to recognize their signature, and can subsequently unlock the device by signing the screen.
Later, Samsung expands on this functionality by talking about a handwriting-based way to launch apps, but really that seems like something for another patent. Then again, both ideas are natural extensions of the intersection between styluses and smartphones, so we’ll let it slide.
While on the surface a signature-based unlock sounds fine, we wonder if it might not be plagued with issues on the level of face-unlock. After all, some people just don’t have very consistent signatures, and an automated system like this may struggle to successfully authenticate them.
Update: Apparently the Galaxy Note 3 already has a feature very similar to what’s being described here, leaving us wondering just what Samsung might be up to with this patent.