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Bring facial recognition technology to all Android devices

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich’s has an incredible feature called ‘Face Unlock’. It is one of the selling point for Galaxy Nexus and many Android devices having a front facing camera and running ICS, but there are some cons of the default ‘Face Unlock’ from the ICS, like the lock protects only the lock screen. It would be nice to have lock with face detection mechanism on per app basis. This is where Visidon Applock comes into picture. Let’s review Visidon Applock Plus.

Getting Started: Once the app is installed, you can protect any application, including SMS, Email or any app of your choice on the device using facial recognition technology. When you launch the app for the first time, you will be asked to add a password or a pattern, which will be used as a backup just in case you are in a low light situation, like in a dark room, and you want to open the app urgently. Once the backup passcode is set, you will be taken to App’s settings page where you can launch the Face Training. Unlike Ice Cream Sandwich’s Face Unlock system, Visidon Facelock’s system is far better as a rectangle with recognition level indicator besides it adjusts to your face, as opposed to stock feature’s ‘Put your face here’ method and no way to know the recognition level.

Multiple photos of you can be set. Once your face is set, you can move on to ‘Apps’ option by tapping on it. This page will display a list of all the apps present on your device that can be locked with Visidon Facelock. The apps that you wish to be locked are supposed to be ticked off.

Liveness Detection: There are few Hollywood movies having an act where the hero circumvents hi-tech facial recognition system by just showing a photograph of the actual authorized person. The same trick works with Face Unlock that is baked into Ice Cream Sandwich, but this flaw is fixed by Visidon Facelock using something called ‘Liveness Detection’. It basically monitors swift movement of eyes or general movements to validate that the face in front of the camera is of an actual human being and not just a photograph, making the system fool proof to certain extent.

Supported Devices: Face Unlock comes as a stock feature on Ice Cream Sandwich, but your device need not run ICS to support Visidon Facelock. In fact any Android device running 2.3, 2.3.3, 3.0 etc. and having a front facing camera will be able to use the Facial Recognition technology.

Variable Re-Lock Time: It would be annoying if you are required to authenticate yourself each and every time you need to reload an application. Visidon Facelock supports Variable re-lock time, using which you can set a time limit for authentication timeout. The time limit can be as high as 30 minutes. For instance, if you have set the time limit to max at 30 min, and if you are using messaging app, you are required to authenticate only once and you can access the messaging app without requiring to go through the authentication process again and again for the next 30 minutes, however, there is a padlock icon in the notification area which can override the re-lock time and secure the application if required.

The facial detection works extremely well. There are some bad reviews about the app in the review section of Play Store because the interface is a bit confusing, nonetheless once set up, it works just fine. The app is also able to lock the entire device from the lock screen, but this is still an experimental feature and may not work smoothly on some devices.

To conclude, Visidon Applock is a great app to have on your phone or tablet if you want to have an extra layer of security over your apps. It supports all the devices having a front facing camera and running Android 2.3 to 4.0.4. If you think facial recognition technology is cool and can’t wait for ICS to be released for your device, you can have something better than ICS’ default facial recognition feature. Free version can be downloaded from the Play Store over here, which is ad supported and has few features missing from Visidon Applock Plus, the paid version of the app.