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Apple granted biometrics patents for palm recognition and wearables button


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Palm ID could be the next popular biometric authentication method for consumer electronics, as an Apple patent for a contactless palm recognition system, which could measure palm prints or veins, has been granted to the tech giant by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Apple has also been granted a patent by the USPTO for a fingerprint biometric system for a wearable device, which could be a Touch ID button on an Apple Watch.

The patent for an ‘Electronic device including palm biometric sensor layer and related methods’ shows an imaging sensor and potentially Apple’s infrared imaging system being used to perform authentication to the device by sensing “surface distortion.” The image sensing layer could include a substrate, possibly with a photodiode layer, and a layer for narrowing the field of view above that. The system could also use a flood light source operable at between 450 nm and 560 nm, instead of infrared light.

The images depict the biometric scanning process, typically with the IR dot projector system associated with the iPhone’s ‘notch,’ but also on a watch.

Another patent for an ‘Electronic device having sealed button biometric sensing system’ describes the use of fingerprint authentication for user identification, device unlocking, application or transaction authorization.

The button would include a biometric sensor and a flexible conduit which transmits an output signal. It sits in an enclosure in the side of the device, and is connected by a seal with a pressure sensitive adhesive layer.

The patent refers most often to a capacitive fingerprint sensor, but also notes that the biometric button could sense another biometric, like DNA or blood pressure.

The document also refers to alternative implementations, such as a biometric key in a keyboard or joystick on a gaming device.

Touch ID is included in the new iPad released in September, and patent applications from Apple for other wearable biometric systems were recently published.

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