Windows 10 is now less than 20 days away from its General Availability date on 29 July 2015.
While we have been able to test nearly every aspect of the new operating system over the last several months one area has been non-existent for testing due to the lack of hardware and software to support it.
Windows Hello - specifically the facial recognition element.
We first learned about Windows Hello from Joe Belfiore back in March of this year when he wrote about Making Windows 10 More Personal and More Secure. Windows Hello will use biometrics (facial and fingerprint recognition) as the means to authenticate your identity on windows 10. This will not only secure your Windows 10 based system but the data on it as well using another new feature called Microsoft Passport.
Read about using Windows Hello and a Fingerprint Reader
Of course fingerprint readers are already on the market and Windows 10 has supported them for several builds now but the one area, as I mentioned above, that needs specialized hardware is Windows Hello's facial recognition capabilities.
Back in March Joe Belfiore indicated there was at least one camera Windows Hello would support if it was included in an OEM device:
We’re working closely with our hardware partners to deliver Windows Hello capable devices that will ship with Windows 10 and we are excited to announce that all OEM systems incorporating the Intel® RealSense™ 3D Camera (F200) will support the facial unlock features of Windows Hello, including automatic sign-in to Windows, and support to unlock “Passport” without the need for a PIN.
So what is unique about the Intel RealSense 3D Camera (F200)? Well it includes three cameras - Infrared, RGB Color and 3D - and it uses these all together to setup and then subsequently use facial recognition to log into Windows 10.
I have had a Creative Intel RealSense 3D Camera DevKit for a few weeks now in anticipation of the software being updated to use the camera with Windows 10. The release of the new Windows 10 SDK Build 10158 from two weeks ago implemented the ability for third party hardware to use Windows Hello facial recognition.
Intel used that SDK to update their Intel RealSense Depth Camera Manager (DCM) to version 1.4 which implements the new facial recognition capabilities in Windows Hello on Windows 10 systems with the F200 camera.
Want to see it all in action?
I have put together this video that shows you the camera, how easy it is to setup Windows Hello and then different methods to use Windows Hello's facial recognition to log into Windows 10.
So what do you think?
Personally, I think this is going to be a great security feature and I am looking forward to seeing this tied to Microsoft Passport and using it to log into websites and other systems.