April 25, 2016 -
Microsoft filed a patent for a low-profile trackpoint or thumb mouse with an optional fingerprint sensor integrated beneath the surface for identification purposes and for navigation, according to a report by PC World.
Originally filed in December, the patent application was published earlier this month.
Using facial recognition or a fingerprint sensor instead of a four-digit PIN offers a more secure authentication method for Windows PCs.
Microsoft launched its own biometric feature, Windows Hello, last year with Windows 10. The company is hoping that users will eventually use the feature instead of passwords when visiting websites.
If the patent filing is approved, the technology could potentially cover anything from a traditional trackpoint on a laptop to a device with a slightly larger surface area.
Microsoft has yet to integrate a physical trackpoint on its Surface devices, which feature a built-in camera to identify the user.
According to the patent filing, the device is a touch-sensitive surface that could potentially be manufactured using semi-transparent material. As a result, the sensor beneath the trackpoint’s surface would be able to read a fingerprint.
The patent application also hints that the trackpoint would have the ability to optically sense the individual’s finger as it “swipes” left, right, up, or down.
Last summer, Microsoft was granted a patent for a new biometric security technology which it intends to integrate into its Windows smartphones, its Surface 2-in-1 hybrid tablet/notebook and its new Surface Hub smart whiteboard.