Open In App

Android Phones Might Get a Secure Face Unlock Upgrade: Introducing PolarID by Metalenz

Last Updated : 01 Mar, 2024
Like Article

Android Phones Say Goodbye to Fingerprint Sensors? Metalenz Introduces “PolarID” – A Secure Face Unlock Alternative

Tired of typing in your PIN or using a fingerprint scanner? Android phones might soon offer a more secure and convenient way to unlock: face recognition.

A company called Metalenz has developed a new technology called PolarID, specifically designed for smartphones. Unlike existing facial recognition systems, PolarID uses near-infrared light and unique meta-optics, making it more secure and reliable, even in challenging lighting conditions like darkness or bright sunlight.

In Short:

  • Metalenz, a startup based in Harvard Labs, has partnered with Samsung to develop Polar ID, a secure facial recognition tech for Android users.
  • Polar ID is expected to be a rival to Apple’s Face ID, offering a secure and affordable solution for Android devices.
  • The new technology is expected to be available on Android phones by the second half of 2024.


What is Metalenz?

Metalenz is a Harvard Labs-based startup specializing in optics technology. They’ve recently made headlines by partnering with Samsung, a leading mobile brand, to create a new security technology named Polar ID. This collaboration aims to bring a secure facial recognition feature to Android users, similar to Apple’s Face ID. The introduction of Polar ID could mark a significant shift in Android security, offering a more secure and affordable solution. The technology is expected to be available on Android devices by the second half of 2024.

What is PolarID?

PolarID is a new facial recognition system developed by Metalenz. Unlike traditional facial recognition methods that rely solely on visual data, PolarID uses a unique approach. It analyzes the way light interacts with a user’s face, creating a “light signature” that serves as the key for unlocking the device.

How does PolarID Work?

Metalenz’s technology leverages a special material called a “metasurface.” This metasurface is essentially a thin film patterned with tiny structures that can manipulate light in specific ways. When light from the phone’s display illuminates the user’s face, the metasurface captures the unique way that light bounces back. This “light signature” is then compared to a stored signature during the enrollment process, granting access if they match.

Steps to use Polar ID on Android

Here are the steps to use Polar ID on Android:

Step 1: Setup

The Polar ID technology will be integrated into your Android device by the manufacturer.

Step 2: Registration

Register your face with the Polar ID system in your device’s security settings. This will involve capturing your unique polarization signature.

Step 3: Unlocking

To unlock, simply look at the front-facing camera. Polar ID will quickly and securely authenticate your face.

Step 4: Advanced Safety Features

Rest assured that Polar ID supports advanced safety features. It cannot be fooled by an image or even a 3D-printed mask.

Please note that the exact steps may vary depending on the specific Android device and its version.

Benefits of Using PolarID

Besides enhanced security, PolarID offers several potential benefits for Android users:

Faster and easier unlocking

No more fumbling with passwords or fingerprint scanners – just glance at your phone and you’re in!

Enhanced security

PolarID claims to be more secure than traditional facial recognition, making it harder for imposters to unlock your phone.

Wider application

This technology could also be used for secure payments and other applications that require secure user authentication.

Samsung’s Contribution to Polar ID

Samsung’s contribution to the development of Polar ID, a secure facial recognition technology, is significant. The tech giant has provided the ISOCELL Vizion 931 sensor, which is integral to the functioning of Polar ID. This sensor, when paired with the security tech developed by Metalenz, forms the backbone of Polar ID. Samsung’s involvement not only provides the necessary hardware support but also lends credibility to the project. As one of the leading mobile brands, Samsung’s collaboration with Metalenz could pave the way for a more secure and efficient facial recognition technology for Android users.

What is the ISOCELL Vizion 931 Sensor?

The ISOCELL Vizion 931 is a global shutter image sensor developed by Samsung. Unlike rolling shutter sensors that scan the scene line by line, global shutter sensors capture the entire scene at once, similar to how human eyes see. This allows for capturing rapid movements without distortion. The sensor is particularly useful for motion tracking in XR devices, service and logistics robots, gaming systems, and drones. The ISOCELL Vizion 931 also reduces power consumption and heat generation, thanks to front-side deep trench isolation (FDTI) and backside scattering technology (BST), along with an industry-high quantum efficiency (QE) of 60%.

When will Phones get Polar ID?

Metalenz, the startup behind Polar ID, is preparing to mass-produce its technology in the second half of 2024. They are currently in discussions with multiple Android manufacturers. With Qualcomm’s native Snapdragon support and the easy integration of Polar ID with Samsung’s sensor, we’ll likely see this technology in Android phones soon. However, Metalenz estimates that products featuring Polar ID will most likely start appearing in 2025 at the earliest.

Challenges of PolarID

Despite its promising aspects, PolarID faces some potential challenges:

  1. Integration with existing hardware: Adapting current smartphone designs to accommodate PolarID’s technology might require hardware modifications.
  2. Privacy concerns: As with any facial recognition technology, privacy concerns are inevitable. Metalenz will need to ensure robust security measures and transparent data handling practices to gain user trust.
  3. Competition: Established players like Apple with Face ID already hold a significant market share. PolarID will need to demonstrate its clear advantages to make a mark in the market.


Metalenz’s PolarID presents a fascinating prospect for the future of Android phone security. Its unique approach using light signatures has the potential to offer a more secure and convenient user experience compared to existing options. However, overcoming technical hurdles, addressing privacy concerns, and navigating a competitive market remain crucial steps for PolarID to gain widespread adoption.


Who is the founder of Metalenz?

Metalenz was co-founded by Robert Devlin, Federico Capasso, and Aman Jabbi.

Is face unlock safe in Android?

While convenient, face unlock on Android might not be as secure as other methods like fingerprint recognition or strong passwords.

Why is my Face ID not working on Android?

If your Face ID isn’t working on Android, it could be due to incorrect positioning of the camera, changes in appearance, or issues with the settings.

Can Face ID unlock in the dark?

Yes, Face ID can unlock in the dark. It uses an IR dot projector and an IR camera, so it doesn’t require any external light sources to work properly.

Like Article
Suggest improvement
Share your thoughts in the comments

Similar Reads