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Apple considers Touch ID biometrics for Apple Watch


Apple is working on possibly introducing biometric Touch ID to the Apple Watch digital crown, according to a patent application published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office last week, writes Patently Apple.

The application discusses a new Apple Watch that “may include a housing defining a side surface of the electronic watch, a transparent cover coupled to the housing and defining a front surface of the electronic watch, an image-sensing element, and a crown extending from the side of the housing and defining an imaging surface.”

It may display a light-directing feature connected to an image-sensing element or an image of an object connected to the imaging surface. Other features it may include are a touch sensor under a transparent cover and a housing-integrated display. The crown may feature a light-transmissive portion outlining the imaging surface and a light-transmissive shaft connected to the image-sensing element.

The patent describes an electronic device with a crown that displays a form of biometric Touch ID, an Apple Watch that receives finger input, an optical crown with optical gesture sensing and axial touch sensing.

The image-sensing element on the Digital Crown reads the finger’s ridges and skin features. The crown can also work as a lens to improve image sensing functionality. A lensing feature on a crown could reject images that don’t match a finger in contact with the crown.

Apple says that while a bare finger will be required for Touch ID, the light system will work with a glove for gestures such as turning the display on and off.

The patent application was published last week and was filed in Q4 2018.

The company has also applied for patents alternatively suggesting Apple Watch’s Digital Crown could be eliminated and replaced with an optical system.

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