Apple patents in-display acoustic fingerprint biometric technology for Touch ID alternative
Apple has been granted a patent for a possible alternative Touch ID biometric fingerprint technology for device user authentication, Patently Apple reports.
“Methods of biometric imaging of input surfaces” was originally filed in 2016 and recently accepted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and describes an acoustic imaging system configured to capture a fingerprint image from contact on the input surface of an electronic device.
Acoustic transducers would produce a signal reaching the input surface in response to a signal from the controller, according to the patent. In some embodiments, the acoustic imaging system could use one or more tomographic reconstruction techniques, such as reflection, diffraction, or transmission. Apple also notes that the same system could be used to capture each characteristics from a user for biometric authentication, or to capture biometrics from a palm or another part of the body.
The same kind of technology could also potentially provide information about physiological characteristics such as heart rate, respiration rate, and blood oxygenation for health monitoring purposes.
Patently Apple also reported a month ago that an Apple patent application has been published for an under-display optical fingerprint sensor for use with OLED devices, possibly including MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and a mixed reality headset.
Another patent spotted in February involving acoustic pulse coding raised the possibility that Apple will reintroduce Touch ID to future iPhones for dual biometrics. Apple patents for acoustic fingerprint sensors go back at least as far as 2017, so the patent does not necessarily indicate its imminent implementation in any new product.