Concept Image: Sid Ramirez
It has been long rumored that Apple has plans to bring back its Touch ID biometric authentication hardware for in-display fingerprint recognition. Apple ditched the hardware in favor of Face ID in all models after the iPhone X and third-generation iPad Pro. While Face ID has fewer false positives, Touch ID still reigns superior in many situations. Here’s everything we know so far.
The patent “Acoustic pulse coding for imaging of input devices,” shows that Apple is serious about implementing a behind-the-screen biometric sensor that can work with Face ID for a more secure experience.
The patent was originally filed September 23rd, 2016, but granted today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. According to the patent “An acoustic imaging system includes multiple acoustic transducers disposed to circumscribe a portion of the imaging surface. An acoustic imaging system also includes a controller and an image resolver. The acoustic transducers convert electrical signals into mechanical energy and/or mechanical energy into electrical signals. The controller is adapted to apply an electrical signal to the acoustic transducers which, in response, induce a mechanical wave, such as a surface wave, into the circumscribed portion. The controller is also adapted to receive electrical signals from the acoustic transducers. The image resolver uses the electrical signals received by the controller in order to construct an image of an object in physical contact with the imaging surface.”
According to the patent, when the transducers receive a response from the users’ touch input, it transmits a coded impulse signal to the acoustic transducers that are positioned in contact with the above surface.
According to Apple Insider, “In effect, sound impulses are sent out and come into contact with the ridges of the user’s fingerprint. These ridges interrupt the impulse’s transit and are reflected, with these reflections then interpreted into a fingerprint image that can be analyzed.”
In theory, if the acoustic transducers can read sound impulses, you can place your finger anywhere on the display and it will get a reading, unlike others which have a specific contact point.
This isn’t the first patent Apple has created for this, and typically publish multiple patents weekly. At this point, this is only a concept as many patents never make it to a final product.
The patent cites the inventors: Marduke Yousefpor, Mohammad Yeke Yazdandoost, Michael Brian King, Marcus Yip, Ehsan Khajeh, and Aaron Tucker.
According to Patently Apple, Apple was also awarded 63 patents today. Read that article here.