Apple patents multimode fingerprint scanner for safer financial transactions

August 25, 2014 - 

Apple announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office has granted the company a series of 48 patents, including a major invention relating to a multimode fingerprint scanner, specifically designed for financial transactions.

Apple said the new fingerprint reader may have a two-dimensional array of sensors, as reported by Patently Apple.

It may operate as a “stationary” scanner, designed for the iPhone’s home button that captures the user’s fingerprint when his or her finger is in a stationary position on the fingerprint reader. Or, there may be a secondary scanner that operates in a “moving” mode, and will capture a fingerprint while the user is swiping his or her finger across the reader.

The moving finger mode is designed specifically for more secure financial transactions. When a fingerprint reader is operated in the stationary finger mode, a would-be hacker could try to reactivate the rightful owner’s residual fingerprint by putting a moist object on top of the residual fingerprint, as explained by Patently Apple.

While the patent notes that the scanner supports NFC, it is still unclear as to whether or not Apple will use this standard.

The granted patent 8,810,367 for the multimode fingerprint scanner was originally filed in Q3 2011. Apple credits Scott Mullins as the device’s sole inventor.

The move comes a few months after Apple published a new anti-spoofing concept and patent application called Doodle.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.