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Lenovo's IR Camera Software: Glance by Mirametrix

2020-06-26, 19:12 PM

On the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5 I'm testing and on several other Lenovo laptops, an IR camera is offered as an upgrade option.  The IR camera allows for Windows Hello facial recognition, where you just have to open the laptop lid for the camera to recognize and log you in.  

On certain models (such as the T, X, P series ThinkPad and S series Yoga), Lenovo also pre-installs an app by Mirametrix called Glance, a software package that uses the IR camera to provide features like an alert when someone glances at your screen behind you.  It's a pretty useful software package, and I'll go over what you need to know about Glance.  




This software requires your camera to be on when it's running as it uses both the RGB and IR sensor to monitor your movements.  If you have the camera shutter on, the software will not work.  

Generally, I have the camera shutter on so that the camera is blocked out.  However, I think the best use for this software would be to turn it on manually if you know you have sensitive information on your screen and are in a busy area such as a library or a coffee shop.  

The software is tucked away in the taskbar, and you can choose if to launch it on startup, snooze when unplugged, or snooze when there are no external monitors connected.  You can also snooze each feature individually for a period of time. 


!- If your laptop is already equipped with the Glance software but you want to uninstall it, the software may reinstall itself as it is an OEM automatic start task.  To prevent this, follow these instructions: https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/ht508238


!- In the case that you want to reinstall the Glance software that your computer came with originally, follow these instructions: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/thinkpad-x-series-chromebook-laptops/solutions/ht509743



Security Features

  • Presence Detection
    This feature either will lock the screen, turn off the display, or turn on the screensaver when the camera does not see you for a certain amount of time.  It will wake the device back up when it sees you again.  In my experience, this feature works very well and would be a great safety net if I walk away from my computer and forget to lock it.  In my testing, I have not experienced false positives or negatives, meaning I have never had it activate on me when I am present or not activate when I am away.  Even if someone swaps places with you, the software will detect it is not you and activate the feature accordingly. 


  • Smart Display
    This feature is similar to Presence Detection but it a bit more aggressive.  More specifically, Smart Display will blur your screen shortly after you glance away.  In my testing, it has worked every time I looked away (typically if you look away at more than a thirty degree angle), but it has also accidently activated at times when I was looking towards the bottom of the display.  It quickly deactivated shortly thereafter, but I think this feature is more of a party trick than effective as the Presence Detection feature is more accurate and has a longer buffer time before it activates.  Unless you have extremely sensitive information on your screen that you cannot leak even for a second, this feature doesn't seem that practical.  


  • Privacy Alert
    Privacy alert gives you a little alert on the top right of the screen when it detects someone looking at your screen behind you.  From there, you can choose to lower the brightness or, if you're brave, confront the onlooker.  In my testing, this has worked every time I asked someone to look at my screen from behind, up to a little over two feet.  I had this feature activate on me a few times accidently when I put my laptop at an angle, so it's best to activate this feature when the laptop is directly in front of you. 


  • Privacy Guard
    Similar to Privacy Alert, if your laptop has a privacy guard display (also known as an ePrivacy display), the software will activate the ePrivacy display and decrease the viewing angles when it detects someone looking at your screen from behind.  You can also activate the ePrivacy display with Fn + D.  


Other Features

  • Digital Wellness
    This feature gives you information about the amount of time you spend looking at your screen and will give you an alert every twenty minutes of continued screen use.  It also has a posture warning, though I couldn't get this feature to activate accurately no matter how I tried.  Even when I slouched in my chair, it would often times activate Smart Display or Privacy Alert, but never Posture Warning.  The screen time feature is useful to remain conscious about your eye health, but I cannot say the same about the posture warning feature.  It sounds like a good idea though, so hopefully future feature updates will improve the feature. 


  • Smart Pointer and Snap Window
    These features only work when you have multiple monitors connected.  Essentially, when you move your head to another monitor, the software will move the pointer to the monitor you're looking at for Smart Pointer or move a window over to the monitor you're looking at for Snap Window. 
    It only works well if the laptop display and the external monitor are relatively level with each other and right next to each other.  Monitors that are above the laptop display won't work that well.  




Overall, there are several features, especially on the privacy side, that I find pretty useful.  I think it makes the most sense to flip the camera switch and turn the feature on when you're in a busy area with sensitive information on your screen, and when you do turn the feature on, it works pretty accurately.  


Eric Xu

I'm a Lenovo forums advocate. I'm a volunteer; I don't work for Lenovo.

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