August 5, 2015 -
Microsoft has been granted a patent for a new biometric security technology which uses multiple biometric features instead of a single biometric system such as is used with Apple’s Touch ID, according to a report by Patently Apple.
Published last month, the patent application states that Microsoft intends to integrate the new technology into its Windows smartphones, its Surface 2-in-1 hybrid tablet/notebook and its new Surface Hub smart whiteboard.
Microsoft explains in the patent filing that the multiple biometric features relate to the performance of a user-authentication gesture as a device authentication attempt.
The technology is capable of comparing the values of the multiple biometric features to previous values stored for the user.
If the values of the multiple biometric features are able to satisfy a similarity threshold relative to the previous values, the technology will successfully unlock the device.
In the patent filing, Microsoft explains that while Apple’s Touch ID technology “addresses both the usability and security requirements of the authentication process, it is fundamentally limited to devices with large physical buttons on the front, such as the home button on the iPhone.”
“However, as phone manufacturers push for devices with large edge-to edge displays, physical buttons are quickly replaced by capacitive buttons that can be easily embedded into the touchscreen, eliminating the real-estate required by a fingerprint sensor,” writes in the application. “Further, this solution requires the additional fingerprint sensor hardware and thereby increases device cost.”
In June, Apple applied for a patent entitled “Fingerprint Biometric Sensor Including Drive Signal Level Updating,” for a new circuitry that is capable of collecting fingerprint data by using special “sensing pixels” within screens, and thus, eliminating the need for a physical “home” button on future iPhone model.
Additionally, Apple filed its first patent on installing their biometric sensors behind the display back in 2013, which technically puts it ahead of Microsoft.
It remains to be seen which of the two companies will bring the biometric security feature to market first.