Sony patents biometric data identification technology

The ID-tagged future envisioned in MGS4.

Sony has filed a patent on a bizarre contraption that will allow its devices to recognise users based on their biometric data.

According to Free Patents Online (thanks, PlayStation LifeStyle), the patent is for a "Process and apparatus for automatically identifying user[s] of consumer electronics."

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The future of pirating games?

According to the document, Sony realised the problem with the current system is that players get recommendations based on the player history tied to their specific accounts. This is flawed in that often several users share one device, especially on the Vita that only allows for one PSN account. "Currently existing technology only allows content providers to track the device and cannot distinguish among different users of a device," said Sony in the patent.

Sony noted that current fingerprint sensors are only applicable to unlocking a device, but once it's been open it can be handed off to anyone. This new technology would be able to detect who's handling it at any given moment. A bit like those nanomachine-based ID-tagged guns in Metal Gear Solid 4.

How will this work? The report noted that these biometric sensors would include "fingerprint sensors, hand sensors, face recognition systems, iris scanners retinal scanners, voice pattern analyzers, and DNA analyzers." It explained that the sensor would gather this data "during normal operation of the device by the user. In certain embodiments of the invention a user identification unit incorporated into a control module of the device."

It's all a bit 1984, but the good news is it won't be necessary to know users' personal information like their names, addresses or phone numbers. Indeed the future is a strange and scary place.

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Jeffrey Matulef

Jeffrey Matulef

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

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