New iMac + iSight = Ultimate Security?

I just saw this tease of an intro at

Editor’s note: When I recently saw the new iMac with the iSight built in, it reminded me of a project we’ve been working on. In a nutshell, Matthew Russell and I have been talking about using the iSight to take and classify images, such as those of a user sitting at the iMac, so it knows who’s using it. (Face-sensing engines have been in the news lately.) Aside from being a cool hack, this possibly could used be in addition to your user password for authentication.

What a cool idea! Built-in face recognition used as part of a password/security approach to your computer.

I expect some hacker to come out with something like this some time after the intro of the new iMac, and some commercial company somewhere to build something similar shortly thereafter.

It should be fairly easy to tap into the built-in camera … hopefully Apple has already exposed some APIs. Then it’s a matter of running some pattern recognition (don’t you dare get a haircut or shave off your moustache or wear too much makeup) to make an intelligent estimate of whether or not the person sitting at the camera is an approved user or not.

That’s probably the hardest part of the app. But it is doable, has been done, and now that a camera is built right into the box, would seem to be a very cool way of securing a computer.