Catching up with Sensible Vision’s Facial Recognition Software

If you’ve been reading EMR and HIPAA for a while, back in 2006 I came across a really cool company called Sensible Vision that does facial recognition software. You can read about my first experience setting up the facial recognition software and my love affair with facial recognition as the best biometric solution.

I admit that I still have a love affair with my facial recognition software. I use it every day when I sit down at my computer. I can’t imagine not having it. In fact, it’s almost time to replace my computer and I’ll be very sad if I can’t find a way to transfer the software to my new computer. It has its quirks, but I just love the added security that it gives me. I’m far too lazy to lock my computer screen myself and then log back in, but the facial recognition software does that for me. Not to mention the single sign on capabilities.

I was on a support call yesterday with my EMR vendor and when I opened the application my facial recognition single sign on kicked in and took care of the username and password typing for me. The EMR vendor told me that he was amazed at how fast I typed. I do type fast, but not that fast.

I should mention that we haven’t been able to implement this in our clinical environment. A mix of process issues and budget issues has prevented us from doing so. However, I think there are a number of places where facial recognition software could be great for security of your desktops.

I decided to go check on what’s happening with Sensible Vision since I hadn’t spoken to them in a while. Looks like they have a million devices installed and a deal with Dell to offer facial recognition with their computers. Very cool stuff. However, what I found most interesting was Sensible Vision’s reply to the Black Hat presentation about hacking facial recognition. It’s an interesting read for those looking at biometric authentication in health care. Now I just need to find the black hat presentation they’re talking about.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Very interesting technology indeed. The “Black Hat” article that you refer to was a paper presented as research from a group in Vietnam that tried to “hack” consumer facial software from Toshiba, Asus and Lenovo (notably untested was Dell – which Sensible Vision supplies). I think issue with that presentation/article wasn’t that the conclusions that they came to were necessarily wrong…more that they were not useful. The question that they posed had nothing to do with overall system security, but was merely asking “can I hack this face recognition with a photo?” If you simply ask “can security technology X be hacked?”, the answer will ALWAYS eventually be “yes”… especially with unlimited time, expertise, resources, and physical access to the machine. The only purpose that question serves is to be sensationalist and to get one invited to the Black Hat conference. 🙂

    A more helpful and balanced approach would have been to compare the relative difficulty of gaining photo access – an area in which FastAccess excels (especially with Dell’s Face + Password feature) – and to look at other aspects of how the software contributes to the overall security picture, such as the automatic locking of the desktop that you refer to.

  • Sensible vision is selling a load of crap in their article, while i have no experience with their non consumer solutions i can assure you that the FastAccess solution provided in certain dell computers is just laughable. The first time i tested the safety i let a complete other guy sit at my laptop… and it just unlocked. Next came the Photo test AND YES IT UNLOCKED AGAIN. Sensible vision also claims the “away from notebook = lock” feature. This is even worse, as long as anyone is sitting behind the system it will not lock…..

  • I haven’t personally tested the consumer offering they have with Dell laptops. However, I’ve tested what you described a hundred or so times and never had it work wrong with their enterprise version. Reminds me of the biometric fingerprint stuff that comes with laptops. It’s not nearly as good as the enterprise level software. Plus, the consumer edition doesn’t usually let you set thresholds of how close it has to match.

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