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With the world of security constantly changing and hackers adapting to those changes, nothing is perfect in terms of security. While two-factor authentication is not new technology, as companies like Apple and social media apps use it to verify someone’s identity, integrating it into facial recognition is. A team from BYU, Utah has built an algorithm that could possibly bring two-factor authentication to facial recognition technologies in everything from cell phones to surveillance systems with the use of facial motion.

The project started when the group researched facial motion and how it could be analyzed. That evolved into seeing if students are paying attention in class and it eventually morphed into improved security for facial recognition with the use of facial motion. They developed a technology called Concurrent Two-Factor Identity Verification. According to Dr. D.J. Lee, it means that “you show your face and make the facial motion just once, you don’t have to do it twice. With the facial motion, if people want to use your photo they cannot fool the system since the photo is not moving.”

The technology first uses facial recognition and then a secret phrase is mouthed, a movement with one’s lips is made, or a facial motion is made to satisfy the second step of authentication. Even if a video is used, the chances of that video matching the secret facial motion are low. This video could be used on a computer, cell phone, or any piece of technology with a camera on it. “There are many other applications,” Lee said. “People often ask me about their iPhones using this, and I say sure but we don’t necessarily have to compete with Apple. We don’t necessarily limit this to unlocking a phone or mobile device. This can be used for many different applications.”

Other possible uses could occur in a car to start the engine, smiling at a camera to gain access to a hotel room, using it to gain access at an ATM, and even using facial motion in disabled people to control a computer. According to heraldextra.com, the next step is a demonstration of the technology with the hopes of attracting some interest of people looking to help develop the algorithm further. 

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