Face ID
Vivo has announced its own version of Apple's Face ID. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Chinese phone maker Vivo has announced its own 3D sensing technology that could rival Apple’s Face ID facial recognition feature. Vivo claims that its technology will have 10 times more sensor points than Apple’s solution.

“Vivo’s TOF 3D Sensing Technology features industry-leading performance in depth of information captured with its 300,000 sensor points, which is 10 times the number of existing Structured Light Technology. This raises the bar by enabling 3D mapping at up to three meters from the phone while having a smaller baseline than Structured Light,” Vivo said in a press release.

“TOF 3D Sensing Technology is also simpler and smaller in structure and allows for more flexibility when embedded in a smartphone. This will enable much broader application of this technology than was previously possible.”

For those who may have already forgotten, Apple’s Face ID is capable of sensing 30,000 points, which now seems small compared to Vivo’s technology that’s capable of capturing 300,000 sensor points. Vivo’s technology works by calculating time of flight (TOF), or the measure of time it takes for light to travel from and into its sensor. Vivo’s sensors will be mounted on the front of the smartphone right next to the front-facing camera.

TOF 3D Sensing Technology 1
Vivo's version of Apple's Face ID technology is capable of capturing 300,000 sensor points. Vivo

Vivo said that its TOF 3D Sensing Technology is not a proof of concept and has already been tested and proven to meet industry standards. The company didn’t provide any specifics on when the technology will be available to consumers, but it will become a real feature on one of its future smartphones. The company will be present at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2018 this week to showcase its TOF 3D Sensing Technology.

Vivo’s TOF 3D Sensing Technology won’t just be for facial recognition either. The company said that it has the potential to be used for gesture and motion recognition. The company also mentioned that the tech might help in delivering 3D photography and better augmented reality. Vivo claims that its tech is capable of detecting depth as far as 3 meters, according to The Verge.

“From last year’s debut of In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology, the recent launch of the truly bezel-less Vivo NEX, to our ground-breaking TOF 3D Sensing technology, we continue to forge ahead and evolve towards the truly intelligent future by opening new ways for the AI to help the consumer,” Vivo senior vice president Alex Feng said. “By combining TOF 3D Sensing Technology with AI, we will continue to explore new possibilities for a better future.”

Vivo is also exploring the idea of using its TOF 3D Sensing Technology to enable the full body scan of a user. The technology would be able to add beautification to users’ photos, or let users try on clothing with the help of augmented reality.