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Face ID Mask lets you keep using face unlock during viral epidemic

Who says you have to give up face unlock when wearing a mask? Not this artist and designer.

Published onFebruary 19, 2020

face id mask black

The coronavirus epidemic has resulted in a sharp increase in demand for face masks, helping to protect people against getting infected. But one of the downsides is that face unlock on your smartphone becomes difficult (to say the least) if you’re wearing this.

Fortunately, designer and artist Danielle Baskin has come up with a weird solution of sorts in Face ID Masks. This service prints your face on an N95 surgical mask, allowing you to theoretically unlock your device.

Read: This smartphone uses AI to prevent you from taking nudes

The process sees you uploading a picture of your face using the Face ID Masks web-app, and tweaking it to fix alignment before you get a finished product.

There are a few caveats though, with the main one being that it doesn’t work with devices that use 3D face unlock. That means people with a Google Pixel 4, HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro, or iPhone X and later can’t use it.

Face ID Mask on person.

Baskin told Android Authority that she’s working on a new mask that will support depth sensors used for 3D face unlock. She hopes to have this new mask ready in “the next few months.” What about camera-based face unlock with the current mask though?

“It wouldn’t pass as you, since the alignment might not be a 100% perfect match to your actual face. You’d have to register it as an additional face,” Baskin said, adding that compatibility with camera-based face unlock is still in testing.

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Many phones with camera-based face unlock don’t let you register additional faces though, only letting you delete your current facial data and register again. So you might need to choose between unlocking with your bare face or using the mask on these devices.

In any event, the Face ID Mask is still in development and will retail for $40 when it eventually launches. However, the website notes that these won’t be produced while there is a global shortage of N95 masks.

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