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Trio of Apple patent filings describe biometrics innovations for various devices

Trio of Apple patent filings describe biometrics innovations for various devices

Apple has had a trio of patent applications published which describe biometrics applications on a variety of iDevices.

Each patent filing has been published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and spotted by Patently Apple.

The filing for ‘Ultra-wideband location tracking to perform voice input operation’ does not mention biometrics by name, but deals directly with the use of high-precision location data to limit voice biometric authentication to specific scenarios. This could be used, for instance, to ensure that the user does not activate their voice-controlled device accidentally.

Ultra-wideband (UWB) signals can be used to determine the direction and exact location of a speaker, according to the filing. This allows it to be used to restrict the authentication attempt based on distance of the speaker or whether they are facing a device. The same technology is also described as a method for securing authentication on one device through another, such as for interacting with smart home devices with an Apple Watch.

Electronic device having sealed button biometric sensing system’ describes a combined button and sensor for fingerprint biometrics. Unlike the legacy home button which integrates Touch ID on some Apple devices, however, the newly-invented button is sealed against “ingress of liquid and other contaminants.”

The sensor itself could be ultrasonic, capacitive, or optical, or even use some other kind of fingerprint data capturing. The seal could be formed by pressure-sensitive adhesives, heat activated substances, or elastomeric materials.

The drawing accompanying this patent application notably feature an Apple Watch.

Split processing of biometric data’ describes a method for dividing the data processing operations behind biometric matching between a peripheral device and a host device that is coupled with it.

The biometric data the two processors handle could be pre-processed, for example to ensure that the probe data is adequate for matching purposes.

The invention could enable biometrics integrations on devices like a wireless keyboard, taking care of the main computing burden on a MacBook or similar device while protecting the biometric data by encrypting it prior to transmission. The split processing technique could also prevent biometric authentication from taking too long, with inadequate data capture attempts rejected before the secondary processor gets involved.

Apple is also seeking a patent on a combined display and camera technology that could be used to put Face ID biometrics directly into the screen, among others.

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