News, Culture & Society

Apple patents reveals ‘invisible’ fingerprint sensor

The next iPhone could have an ‘invisible’ fingerprint sensor, according to a new patent.

Yesterday, Apple was granted a patent for acoustic fingerprint imaging technology that would be invisible and live under the device’s screen.

It would recognize a fingerprint by acoustic output and be accurate enough to replace the current Touch ID system.

Apple has patented acoustic fingerprint imaging technology that would be invisible and live under a phone’s screen. It would be accurate enough to replace the current Touch ID system. Pictured, an example of an iPhone that can include the acoustic fingerprint imaging technology

The patent for an ‘active sensing element for acoustic imaging systems’ goes on to describe a method of using ultrasonic transmission and detection to gather biometric data, specifically a fingerprint.

‘For example, a ridge of a fingerprint may present a different acoustic boundary when touching the substrate than a valley of a fingerprint,’ the patent reads.

‘Accordingly, a ridge of a fingerprint may reflect the acoustic pulse differently than a valley of a fingerprint.’

‘In other words, a ridge of a fingerprint produces a different acoustic output than the valley of a fingerprint.’ 

Further on, the patent indicates this technology would be hidden.

‘In some embodiments, the acoustic fingerprint imaging system can be positioned below the display,’ it reads. 

Unlike the current system, acoustic imaging technology does not require optical access, which means it could be placed beneath the screen.

While living underneath the display, the system could function just like the Touch ID and be used to unlock the device and certain apps that allow the use of fingerprints for security.

How it works: The system would use acoustic pulses reflecting off the finger to identify the users

How it works: The system would use acoustic pulses reflecting off the finger to identify the users

It would have a variety of piezoelectric transducers (which convert the electrical charges produced by a solid material into energy) arranged near the bottom of the screen.

Then it would collect image data of the fingerprint and release an acoustic pulse based on the fingerprint. 

A portion of that pulse would reflect back to the top substrate, and then the returning acoustic waves would be analyzed by the technology to see if the fingerprint is a match. 

In some cases, the electrical signals produced from the reflected acoustic pulses will correspond to a single pixel of a larger sub-image. 

HOW IT WORKS 

 The system would have a variety of piezoelectric transducers (which converts the electrical charges produced by a solid material into energy) arranged near the bottom surface of a given substrate.

Then it would collect image data of the fingerprint, then releasing an acoustic pulse based on the fingerprint. 

A portion of that pulse would reflect back to the top substrate, and then the returning acoustic waves would be analyzed by the technology to see if the fingerprint is a match. 

In some cases, the electrical signals produced from the reflected acoustic pulses will correspond to a single pixel of a larger sub-image. 

The newly-patented system, however, does come with a few limitations. 

Additionally, those piezoelectric elements might have substantially higher electrical requirements – It’s estimated by Apple that the high voltage circuits need for the technology would need to be as high as 100 volts.

By comparison, the current sensing technology runs at 3.3 volts at its highest.

Running at high voltage could also damage the capacitance materials used in manufacturing piezoelectric parts.

Apple suggests these obstacles could be overcome with a system of integrated transducer controllers capable of independently operating both drive and sense modes.

This would allow for more precise control over a unit’s drive signal, voltage bias and ground reference.

It’s unclear if Apple plans to implement the new technology into upcoming devices, but it has long been rumored the firm would be using a sub-screen fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 8.

The new device will be unveiled on September 12 at the new Steve Jobs Theater. 

Other reports have said Apple is scrapping the fingerprint-sensing technology all together in favor of facial recognition; however, it’s possible both would be included. 

A new leak out today has also suggested Apple’s iPhone 8 will see the replacement of the smartphone’s classic home button with gesture controls.

Users will simply swipe their hands above the device for tasks such as going to the main app grid and opening multitasking.

The leaks also reveal that Apple’s flagship device will have rounded corners and a flat screen that covers the front, Bloomberg reports. 

This graphic shows some of the new features rumoured for Apple's iPhone 8, which is due for release in mid-September

This graphic shows some of the new features rumoured for Apple’s iPhone 8, which is due for release in mid-September

THE IPHONE 8: LATEST RUMOURS

– No home button

– Gesture controls

– Flat screen that covers the front

– A glass front and back with a stainless steel band around the phone

– OLED screen with rounded edges

– Taller display that fits six vertical rows of apps 

–  New multitasking screen

– Longer power button

– Will release next month alongside upgraded iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models 

Apple plans to introduce a stainless steel band around the phone which the glass curves into, much like the casing used for the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Confirming past rumours, images of the device viewed by Bloomberg and people familiar with the gadget show Apple will release three iPhones next month.

One of these new models, a new high-end device ‘packs in enough changes to make it one of the biggest iPhone updates in the product’s decade-long history,’ Bloomberg reports. 

In place of a home button on the iPhone 8, a thin, software bar will stretch across the bottom of the screen.

This bar can be dragged to the top of the screen to open the iPhone, while users can initiate multitasking using a similar gesture while an app is open.

To close the app and go back to the home screen, users can continue flicking the bar upwards.

Images show that the multitasking screen has been redesigned to appear as a series of swipeable cards rather than the ‘stack’ seen on current iPhones.

The iPhone 8 will have a cut-out at the top of the display for sensors and a camera, as well as a taller screen with rounded edges.

A patent from May shows  another method to kill the home button. This innovation also places the sensor under the display, but instead uses ultrasound imaging to find the user’s fingerprint - which could mean a handset that is 'all screen'. Pictured is a concept drawing

This new method means that the chunky bottom bezel of the iPhone could be transformed into a sleek extension of the screen. Pictured is a concept drawing

Apple’s iPhone 8 will see the replacement of the smartphone’s classic home button with gesture controls, new leaks suggest. Pictured is a concept drawing

Images show that the iPhone 8's dock has been redesigned to match the interface of the one on the iPad version of iOS 11 (pictured)

Images show that the iPhone 8’s dock has been redesigned to match the interface of the one on the iPad version of iOS 11 (pictured)

HOW WILL THE NEW GESTURES WORK? 

Apple has tested the removal of the home button in favour of new gesture controls in the iPhone 8.

In its place, a thin, software bar will stretch across the bottom of the screen.

This bar can be dragged to the top of the screen to open the iPhone.

Users can initiate multitasking using a similar gesture while an app is open.

To close the app and go back to the home screen, users can continue flicking the bar upwards.

The iPhone 8 will have an OLED screen that is slightly larger than that of the iPhone 7 Plus (5.5″), but the device itself will be similar to the iPhone 7, people familiar with the phone told Bloomberg.

The firm is not moving to curved screens like the latest Samsung models, instead favouring a flat screen like current and past iPhones, the report says. 

Symmetrical, slim bezels will cover the entirety of the device’s front, cutting off the areas where the home button and ear piece sit on current iPhone models.

The front-facing camera, earpiece and facial-recognition sensor are instead housed in a small notch at the top of the screen, the image show.

‘Apple has opted to not hide the notch area at the top of the screen, showing a definitive cutout at the top of apps with non-black backgrounds,’ Bloomberg reports. 

Images leaked last week appear to show parts taken from the upcoming iPhone 8 in unprecedented detail. This image seems to show the display of the upcoming handset

Images leaked last week appear to show parts taken from the upcoming iPhone 8 in unprecedented detail. This image seems to show the display of the upcoming handset

‘The cutout is noticeable during app usage in the middle of the very top of the screen, where the status bar (the area that shows cellular reception, the time, and battery life) would normally be placed, according to the images.

‘Instead, the status bar will be split into left and right sides, which some Apple employees call “ears” internally.’

Images of recent test devices reveal that the left side of the notch displays the time while the right side shows battery life, WiFi and mobile network connectivity.

Apple has opted to remove the square corners seen on current iPhones in favour of rounded ones, possibly as an homage to the shape of the very first iPhone model, which came out a decade ago in November.

The iPhone 8 will have an OLED screen that is slightly larger than that of the iPhone 7 Plus (5.5"), but the device itself will be similar in size to the iPhone 7. Pictured is an earlier leaked photo of the display that appeared on a Chinese blogging website

The iPhone 8 will have an OLED screen that is slightly larger than that of the iPhone 7 Plus (5.5″), but the device itself will be similar in size to the iPhone 7. Pictured is an earlier leaked photo of the display that appeared on a Chinese blogging website

Images of the device viewed by Bloomberg and people familiar with the gadget show Apple will release three iPhones next month. Previous rumours have suggested Apple's release event could take place at the The Steve Jobs Theatre in September (artist's impression)

Images of the device viewed by Bloomberg and people familiar with the gadget show Apple will release three iPhones next month. Previous rumours have suggested Apple’s release event could take place at the The Steve Jobs Theatre in September (artist’s impression)

The iPhone 8’s power button will be longer to make it easier to press while holding the phone in one hand, the images and people suggest.

A taller screen means that the phone will fit six vertical rows of apps, showing 24 icons on each page excluding the dock, a grey bar at the bottom of the screen containing frequently used apps.

The images show that the dock has been redesigned to match the interface of the one on the iPad version of iOS 11.

Alongside the new high-end device, Apple plans to release two new additional iPhone models.

These will use faster processors but will include the same screens as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

They will debut alongside an update Apple TV set-top box and Apple Watch models.

Apple recently killed the headphone jack and its next victim could be the home button. Rumors of Apple doing way with the iconic home button isn’t groundbreaking news, but many believed the firm would leave it out of the iPhone 7 design

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Do you like it? Share with your friends!


Comments are closed.