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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Use Visidon AppLock to unlock your Android apps with your face

24

June

If you're concerned about the security of certain apps on your Android smartphone and want to lock them down, lots of apps are available that will let you set a password for individual apps. Wouldn't it be easier to just point your phone or tablet at your face for a second and let the phone "recognize" you to give you app access? That's what you can do with Visidon AppLock.

ss-0-1-2e72260414f8fcfbe643de44de72ad5d0d6087f6.jpgVisidon AppLock lets you choose the apps you want to protect and set a traditional password for them. But the really cool feature is you can use your face to unlock the apps instead. Using the front-facing camera (required) on your phone or tablet, you make some photos of your face that the app will use for reference to identify you. I made 16 photos, from different angles and in different lighting conditions, to give it a better chance of success when I used it. When making your reference photos a box appears on the screen to help you position your face and an estimated percentage of accuracy is displayed to help you make optimized photos for identification.

Once you have your face stored in the app, choose the apps you want to protect and give it a try. You even can protect apps that control the settings of your device or put a lock on the Android Marketplace app so no one else can download apps without your permission. When you launch a protected app, Visidon AppLock kicks in and when you position your face in the square on the screen, the app is unlocked. You also can bypass face recognition by using the password feature.

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There are three security levels for the face-recognition feature so you adjust the settings accordingly to maximize security. I have it set on the maximum security level on my Motorola Xoom and so far the face-recognition has been 100 percent. Additional preferences include setting the app to launch on boot and choosing camera orientation.

In addition to obvious uses, this app would be great for parents who sometimes let their child watch videos or play games on their smartphone. You can lock down your email, SMS, calendar and other important apps to make sure nothing critical is accidentally disturbed.

Visidon AppLock is free and available in the Android Market. It requires Android 2.3 (gingerbread) to run.

[Last modified: Friday, June 24, 2011 12:47pm]

    

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