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Apple patents acoustic fingerprint imaging for full-screen Touch ID

Smartphone companies are extensively experimenting with biometric security and now have come to offer an in-display fingerprint sensor on their device. Many OEMs have started offering sixth-generation technology which provides wider fingerprint recognition area.

Users who wish the in-display fingerprint scanner to cover the whole display of the smartphone can now rejoice. Apparently, Apple is working on an acoustic fingerprint scanning technology that is touted to offer full-screen Touch ID.

With this technology, Apple could offer Touch ID on iPhones without the need to embed the sensors in home button allowing the company to provide clean, full-screen design for the front panel.

Apple patent

With the launch of iPhone X, Apple replaced Touch ID with Face ID which uses TrueDepth camera array. Apple used this technology to be able to provide an edge-to-edge display on its iPhones. Nevertheless, Face ID still has some of the flaws that are not present on Touch ID, such as unlocking the device without looking at it.

Apple has filed a patent which has been granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office, describing an acoustic imaging system for a surface. The technology uses a combination of transducers to vibrate a surface in a certain way, which in turn effectively transforms the entire display into a fingerprint reader.

Apple patent

Another patent named  “Acoustic imaging system for spatial demodulation of acoustic waves,” details the same subject area with a similar technique, except it goes into more details regarding the placement of the transducers.

The second patent sees Apple explicitly suggesting that the object being detected “is a finger,” while the user input surface could be formed from “glass, sapphire, or metal,” with the obvious application being a touch-enabled display.

While there are fewer chances that Apple will move back to Touch ID for iPhones after ditching the technology in favor of Face ID. Nevertheless, the full-screen in-display fingerprint scanner is slated to become a reality soon as more and more manufacturers can be seen experimenting with the biometric authentication. It is just a matter of time and it would be interesting to see which company does it first.


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