ams develops dual optical sensor for under-display 3D facial biometrics
Apple’s optical sensor supplier ams has launched a dual RGB light and infrared (IR) proximity sensor IC (integrated circuit) that works from underneath an OLED screen, raising the possibility of 3D facial recognition being built into a bezel-free future iPhone.
The TCS3701 enables smartphone manufacturers to deliver the same touchscreen disablement and adjustments of brightness and color as in devices with bezels, by sensing ambient light passing through the display, the company says. Unique algorithms developed by ams enable detection of ambient light despite the light emitted by the OLED pixels, according to the announcement.
“Smartphone OEMs today are striving to maximize their products’ screen-to-body ratio, reducing the bezel area as much as possible on the display’s face,” said David Moon, Senior Marketing Manager at ams. “The TCS3701 enables phone designers to take this trend to a new level, potentially eliminating the bezel entirely. This is only possible because the TCS3701 can operate behind an OLED display, a breakthrough enabled by the outstanding sensitivity of the device and by the implementation of sophisticated measurement algorithms to compensate for the optical distortion caused by the OLED display.”
Neither Apple nor ams has published specific information about the supply relationship, but Euronews reports that sales to Apple are estimated by analysts to make up 45 percent of ams’ total. Apple recently issued a warning about slowing iPhone sales in China in a letter to investors.
The TCS3701 is now available for sampling, and is offered at $1.25 per unit for an order of 1,000 units.
This week ams also announced a partnership with Face++ to develop integrated 3D facial recognition solutions, and ams formed a partnership with Qualcomm late last year to develop 3D facial recognition for Android devices.