Apple patent published for optical 3D fingerprint biometric system

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent application by Apple for an optical 3D fingerprint biometric system, Patently Apple reports, which could lead to an in-display version of Touch ID.

The patent describes a device such as a cell phone, with a dielectric layer with a front surface where the user places a finger, and at least one light source which illuminates the finger. A plurality of image sensors targeting overlapping areas of the finger collect image data from diffuse scattering and specular reflections of the light to generate 3D fingerprint ridge data. Patent illustrations depict five pinhole cameras, and the use of angles and a controller coordinating data from different sensors to determine the depth-dimension of the image.

While Face ID is expected to be implemented into more Apple devices this year, possibly including iPads, Apple has also reportedly been working on ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors. Apple also recently filed a patent application for a system which could allow an iPhone or other device to store and transmit identity credential data, possibly allowing the device to be used for applications such as ePassports. Using a smartphone as an identity credential may necessitate multiple biometric modalities on the device, both to protect user’s credentials, and to prove the device user is the rightful credential-holder.

The patent was filed in January, and lists Dale Setlak as its inventor. Setlak joined Apple when the company acquired Authentec in 2012, according to Patently Apple.

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