Apple files patent for pin-hole optical in-display Touch ID biometrics

Apple could return Touch ID to iPhones as an in-display feature with pin-hole cameras, according to a patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by Patently Apple.

Patent 20190147213, descriptively titled “Electronic device including pin hole array mask above optical image sensor and laterally adjacent light source and related methods,” follows other patents hinting at in-display fingerprint biometrics’ return to iPhones, possible in the form of an acoustic sensor. Patently Apple also notes that the filing’s images include photos of fingerprints taken on a prototype device.

The system may involve a display layer with a plurality of pixels spaced apart, and a transparent cover layer to act as a finger placement surface. The patent also describes a light source either adjacent to the cover layer, or beneath the pin hole array mask layer. The light from the source could be visible, infrared, or ultraviolet. The optical image sensor may sit on a flexible circuit substrate.

The inventors note the possible implementation of spoof detection, and a vital sign measurement function. The patent concludes with a lengthy passage on the necessity of meeting privacy requirements when putting into practice data collection, transferring, storage, and analysis, and also emphasizes the possibilities of selectively blocking access to certain kinds of data, such as health data, and providing other methods for bypassing biometric authentication.

AUO recently launched a display panel for full-screen smartphone in-display fingerprint scanning.

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