A patent from Amazon uses ear recognition technology to tell who is using a phone and on which side of their face

The iPhone has eliminated the need for a phone password with Touch ID, but a future edition of the Amazon Fire might not even require your fingertips at all—just your ear.

Ears have a unique combination of curves, points and other features that can be used to determine identity, and that's exactly what Amazon has harnessed with a new patent that could mean thumbs-free phone use a few years down the line.

When a phone detects that it's a certain distance away from a user's ear, it uses a camera or heat detector to capture photos of the ear from two different angles. If it matches, the phone unlocks and can also automatically change its volume settings based on the particular user's preferences.

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