New patent points towards possible Touch ID sensor under screen of next-gen iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, May 18th, 2016, 10:45
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News, Patents


A newly-published patent shows that Apple may be going the way of a bezel-free iPhone wherein the display extends all the way to the edges of the handset.

The patent describes three different technologies that can be used for fingerprint sensors, and says that the third of them – ultrasonic imaging – would not only allow the reader to be embedded into the display, but would also be even more accurate than the capacitive sensor used by Touch ID today.

At present, the most accurate but least common finger-scanning technology is ultrasound imaging, wherein two transducers are placed on the x- and y-axes of a plate of glass–one each for receiving and transmitting–for propagating ultrasound waves through a glass plate. When the finger is placed on top of the glass, the finger impedes the waves and the receiving transducer can measure the alteration in wave patterns. This technology is new and largely untested, but combines the large plate size and ease of use of the optical scanners with the ability to pervade dirt and residue on the scanner, an advantage of capacitive scanners.

The patent also describes how a fingerprint sensor – or Biometric Personal Identification Device (BPID) – could be used to verify the authenticity of data. One specific application given is that of a driving license, an interesting example given that the British government is working on allowing digital licenses to be stored in Apple’s Wallet app.

Granted, very few patents make their way into forthcoming products, but there are some interesting ideas at work here.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via 9to5Mac and Patently Apple

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