Body detection security features may be available on a Chromebook (opens in a new tab) near you.

A recently discovered page on the Chromium Gerrit website (opens in a new tab) reveals that body detection features are in the works for a Chromebook laptop codenamed "Crota." Gerrit is a collaboration tool for software developers to chime in and review each other's work, and in this case, Google's Chromium projects.

Google has expressed interest (opens in a new tab) in the past with “embedded sensor technologies for more personalized experiences” and body detection could be the fruit of this work.

Not much is known about how Google plans to implement this security feature or how robust it is. We've reached out to Google to see if they'd like to comment on or provide feedback on this project, and will update this post if they respond. However, we can look at other examples of body detection and paint a picture of what Google could do.

advances in security

Body detection, sometimes called human presence detection, is a feature that allows a device to see if a person is standing directly in front of it. You can watch a demo of this technology on YouTube by Lattice Semiconductor (opens in a new tab). It shows a computer detecting several men in front of its camera.

This technology is mainly used for security or quick logins using facial recognition. For example, Lenovo has body sensors on several of its laptops, like the ThinkPad X1 Nano, where it locks the computer if the user takes a step or moves away from the screen. Some ThinkPad models have built-in PrivacyGuard (opens in a new tab) that alerts you if someone is looking over your shoulder and looking at your screen.

For quick logins, body detection already exists in the form of biometric security. Many phones have rear fingerprint readers. And there are laptops, like the Surface Pro 8, that support facial recognition through Windows Hello. Also, Chromebooks with face unlock have been teased for about three years now.

It's also worth noting that the specialized website Chrome Unboxed (opens in a new tab) reported in the past that Google is also working on adding "spy detection" to Chrome OS.

potential manufacturer

Further details about the "Crota" material are unknown. No one knows who the manufacturer will be, but it could be Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Wistron. You can see proof of this if you check out Gerrit's page (opens in a new tab) for the body detection feature, which has an email from Wistron in the "signed by" line.

Chrome Unboxed (opens in a new tab) claims that if Wistron is listed, it could mean Dell is involved according to Chromium Gerrit's previous pages, but this is circumstantial evidence at best. We won't know until more information is discovered or released. If you're interested in Chromebooks, TechRadar recently published a list of the best for 2022.

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