Apple Patents In-display Fingerprint Scanner, May Feature In Future iPhones

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Apple Patents In-display Fingerprint Scanner, May Feature In Future iPhones

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In-display fingerprint scanners are slowly becoming a norm for flagship smartphones. First incorporated in the Vivo X20 Plus UD, the in-display scanners were later introduced by companies like OnePlus, and Huawei. Furthermore, South Korean technology company Samsung introduced the world’s first ultrasonic fingerprint scanner in the Galaxy S10+. The American technology giant, Apple till now has abstained from implementing the technology on its devices but this is likely to change soon. The company was granted a patent for what looks like to be an in-display biometric scanner for a future iPhone. 

The patent showcases “methods of biometric imaging of input surfaces”, which directly relate to an acoustic imaging system. Using the aforementioned technique, a high-resolution image of the object can be mapped, in this case, a fingerprint. Since Apple has never used an in-display fingerprint scanner in any of its devices yet, this patent getting published may be a start for the company. 

How Does The Scanner Work?

iPhone XR

As per the patent, an acoustic transducer is configured to generate acoustic outputs in response to a signal from a controller. The outputs may be in the form of mechanical waves or pulses, and they will be coded with the help of the controller. To obtain the image of the fingerprint, the acoustic imaging system can use a multitude of techniques, including reflection, diffraction and transmission. Further notes from the patent state that the acoustic imaging system can also be used to map biometrically unique features of the fingers like size, shape and skin patterns. Moreover, some notes also affirm that the imaging technique can capture features like the user’s ears and other prominent features. 

iPhone 7

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Considering that Apple originally filed the aforementioned patent in the third quarter of the year 2016, this technology may never see the light of day in the immediate future. However, implications of the same tech can be incorporated in newer Apple devices, and since Apple is highly focused on security detail, it might be the best-in-class too. 

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Anubhav Sharma
Game Geek, Hardware fanatic and Troubled by Repetitive Music. Anubhav covers Tech & Alt at iGyaan; Science, Medicine and Games