Using Pupil Reflection in Smartphone Camera Selfies

Researchers are using the reflection of the smartphone in the pupils of faces taken as selfies to infer information about how the phone is being used:

For now, the research is focusing on six different ways a user can hold a device like a smartphone: with both hands, just the left, or just the right in portrait mode, and the same options in horizontal mode.

It’s not a lot of information, but it’s a start. (It’ll be a while before we can reproduce these results from Blade Runner.)

Research paper.

Posted on May 3, 2022 at 11:17 AM16 Comments


Bob Paddock May 3, 2022 12:19 PM

“‘Eye-Catching’ Smartphone App Could Make It Easy To Screen for Neurological Disease at Home”


Terry Cloth May 3, 2022 3:40 PM

Note: It’s a corneal reflection. My first thought on reading “pupil reflection” was something beyond the pupil, i.e.: the retina. Given the increase in camera capacity, I suppose it’s only a matter of time until a phone can sneak in a retina print with that first anti-redeye flash.

PokerEyes May 3, 2022 5:59 PM

This makes me wonder if poker players shouldn’t stop using dark glasses,

Clive Robinson May 3, 2022 6:14 PM

@ Bruce, ALL,

(It’ll be a while before we can reproduce these results from Blade Runner.

Will we ever?

It’s easy to fall into the ridiculous “CSI Effect” where on TV they pull up grain CCTV still and some how miraculously put a couple of million or more bits in that were not there in the 480×365 image to start off with…

Due to the lack of physical depth there are very real limits on what a camera in a phone can do…

But the image does not need to be just off the surface of the eyeball… People wearing lenses offer larger more stable targets.

But do you actually need a reflection “to infer information about how the phone is being used”?

Probably not quite a lot of information like if they are left or right handled has a habit of comming through from the image.

Most people when holding up a phone to take a selfie do not hold the phone on the face center line with the camera at 90 degree…

Also light intensity or non uniform illumination by reflection can give away further information.

Think about sunlight reflecting off of the phone screen or pursons hand whilst the human eye probably won’t pull up the non-uniform intensity the phone lense and sensor probably will.

SpaceLifeForm May 3, 2022 7:05 PM

@ Clive, ALL

Due to the lack of physical depth there are very real limits on what a camera in a phone can do…


It was Potus in the SCIF with iPhone held with both hands in landscape position taking the pic of the monitor on the wall.

The other three present I can definitely not ID, but they may be Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and the Reverend Green.

Wannabe tehguy May 3, 2022 8:58 PM

“It’s easy to fall into the ridiculous “CSI Effect”.
Which reminds me of shows where they crack passwords one character at a time.

Ted May 3, 2022 11:46 PM

Are we going to get a heads up if this tech is implemented within a service? I mean is it intended to be implemented on the app level, the website level, the OS level?

Privacy advocates are surely going to want to review this. Because the program would be taking periodic pictures of your face with the front camera.

The video shows a smartphone keyboard switching from side to side based on the ReflecTouch technology. First of all, even that level of screen roominess puts my phone to shame. My keyboard being any smaller then full-width would be just plain silly. I feel mostly happy when I manage to peck the right letters with my huge fingertips.

Winter May 4, 2022 1:27 AM

This is just another illustration of what information can be stored and extracted in a 5+MB picture.

A picture says more than a thousand words.

Remember the early Al Qaeda videos that showed nothing but a bearded man in front of a cave wall? Geologists could pinpoint the position of the cave in Afghanistan from just the picture of the rock wall.

This is neat, but still more of the same.

ResearcherZero May 4, 2022 3:13 AM

They are going to be surprised if they ever apply that research in the Parliament House meditation room.

RealFakeNews May 4, 2022 9:50 AM

Hardly a new concept!

I have pretty decent photography equipment, and for fun blow up reflected objects in the background to see the rest of the room. It’s quite surprising what can be seen in the reflections from a polished vase.

I shall continue to tape over the cameras of my devices.

JonKnowsNothing May 4, 2022 10:53 AM


re: More Junk Forensic Science: Wrist Xrays

Although it has been debunked, the Australian Federal Police continue to use “Wrist XRays” to determine the age of a person.

The Wrist XRay image is used to re-classify the age of young people so they can be classified and prosecuted as adults. The AFP then edits any age or date of birth to match their new Wrist Xray definition.

So, several issues: One is the debunked junk science but also the editing of official database information. By re-editing and overwriting the date of birth and the age of the person, they deliberately introduce a forever error in the system.

re: Surveillance Systems funded by Asset Forfeiture

A report of the uses of “asset forfeiture” funds to buy surveillance systems.

With all of that juicy RU Oligarch Cash sitting in global asset forfeiture accounts and therefore open to distribution to LEAs, how long will it sit there before “shopaholic euphoria” takes place?


Search Terms

Australia / AFP

wrist X-rays

prosecute children as adult

Staten Island DA

Clearview Face Recognition

Civil Forfeiture Cash

vas pup May 5, 2022 2:37 PM

Tag -academic papers
Can Humor Preferences Reveal Who Has a Dark Personality?

“Please note that some supposedly pro-social games, especially games in which the ‘hero’ destroys the bad-person enemies, are actually harmful to players,” warned Anderson. “The main reason is that what those games actually teach is that ==>physical violence is good and the first thing to try when faced with an interpersonal dispute.”

According to Anderson, truly pro-social games can teach people to devise nonviolent solutions to conflict and can therefore result in improved interpersonal relationships.”

Are agree with part I marked with ==> ?

Clive Robinson May 5, 2022 6:27 PM

@ vas pup,

Re : Humor Preferences Reveal Who Has a Dark Personality

I suspect the research is flawed, and if I am correct fataly so.

There is more than “Dark Personality traits” that might lead you to find something “dark” humorous.

One such is “irony”, most find people they see as “Being hoist by their own petard” as amusing in an ironic way, generally the more dispicable the person hoist is, the more ammusing we will find it.

Irony is not the only thing you have to rule out of such testing

For instance UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen by many as being an oaf and a bully. If something happens to him such as say getting bitten by a small rabid dog in a park whilst he is out jogging, then you can be assured that most newspapers will have an “underdog bites back” type headline or main cartoon to that effect and the majority of their readers will be ammused by it.

Adult Humor mostly actually only requires two elements,

1, Some one feels pain.
2, You can feel superior to them.

Analyse any “Englishman, Irishman and a Scotsman…” type joke and they will all have a “superior inferior” setup and the inferior is not you so can be laughed at.

You can replace the stereotypes with any other stereotypes as long as the expected syereotype gets to feel the pain.

It’s why,

Is currently funny, because there is an implicit fourth steryotype who has been humiliated.

Once you know this dirty little secret, writing endless streams of jokes becomes very nearly trivial.

Lennie May 15, 2022 8:31 AM

reminds me of the research/talk (see Youtube): starbug: Ich sehe, also bin ich … Du (english translation) from 2014.

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