Apple is still working on under-display optical Touch ID reader

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Apple is continuing development of optical under-display fingerprint reading technology, possibly for a future iPhone.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


Although Apple's iPhones haven't featured Touch ID for several generations now, there have been ongoing rumors that the company is looking into bringing the technology back. Past patent applications have also hinted at this.

One Wednesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published two Apple patent applications related to the technology.

The first, titled "Through-Display Optical Transmission, Reception, or Sensing Through Micro-Optic Elements," details optical sensors that are embedded beneath a device's display. It opens with a background stating that it may "be desirable to capture a two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) image of an object or user that is proximate to a device," such as a fingerprint.

With an optical sensor, receiver or transmitter positioned behind a display, the patent says that "light may be transmitted or received through translucent apertures extending from a front surface to a back surface of a display stack of the device."

"In this manner, an optical transmitter, receiver, or sensor may transmit or receive "through" a display," the patent reads.

Display stacks aren't always 100% translucent, and Apple notes a method to deal with opaque components. Specifically, some opaque elements could be opaque to "some wavelengths of light ... but translucent to other wavelengths." Getting around those opaque elements could involve placing translucent apertures throughout a display that extends beyond the opaque elements. From there, light can be collimated and directed through the apertures and toward an optical receiver or micro-lens array.

"For example, in some cases, a micro-lens array may be formed on the back surface of the display stack," the patent reads. "Each micro-lens in the array may have a focal point located with, aligned with, or near one of the translucent apertures."

Combined with a similar optical transmitter, the technology could allow for fingerprint reading through a display surface (and in spite of non-transparent display components).

An illustration of the micro-lens array and transparent aperture setup. Credit: USPTO
An illustration of the micro-lens array and transparent aperture setup. Credit: USPTO


Its inventors include Tong Chen, Mark T. Winkler, Meng-Huan Ho, Rui Liu, Xiao Xiang and Wenrui Cai. Of them, Chen has previously worked on patents related to laser-powered AirDrop.

The second patent published today, "Optical-Fingerprint Detection System," details a method of temperature compensation in an optical fingerprint detection system.

In an apparent effort to combat the effects of temperature on OLED-based displays, this patent describes a method to compensate for differences in temperature between signals.

"A temperature compensated signal reading can be produced by subtracting the first reading from the second reading," the patent reads.

Other portions of the patent describe various implementations, voltage specifications and component structures for an optical fingerprint sensor embedded within a display.

The two inventors of this patent are Mohammed Yeke Yazdandoost and Christoph H. Krah. Yazdandoost has previously worked on biometric imaging and touch detection technology, and Krah has been named in similar optical Touch ID patents.

As mentioned earlier, Apple has continued its work on potential under-display fingerprint sensing technology since ditching Touch ID on the iPhone X in 2017.

In April, a supply chain report suggested that Apple may tap partners for under-display fingerprint sensors. While Ming-Chi Kuo has forecast that a Touch ID-equipped iPhone could arrive in 2021. Along with optical solutions, Apple is also exploring acoustic-based imaging for fingerprint detection.

Patent applications are poor indicators of Apple's future product plans, however. They also don't give any sort of timeline as to when such devices could arrive on the market.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 751member
    Not surprising. It can be would be great combination with Face ID or essential for iPhone SE 3. Then can not offer phone with thick bezels forever.
  • Reply 2 of 37
    I was quite a fan of the ability to have my phone unlock as I was picking it up so that it would already be open by the time I laid eyes on it.

    Additionally, maybe this can pave the path for notchless iPhones.

    I mean Face ID is cool, but I would not miss it (I mean maybe I would miss Animoji) if the fingerprint scanner was put into the screen.

    Full screen iPhones will be really cool and sleek looking. Apple tends to focus heavily on aesthetics, and most people who follow apple probably know what their design goals are generally. 

    On another note, I have a fun conspiracy theory with regards to Face ID. What if the purpose of Face ID was to get dimensions of peoples faces so when the apple glasses product is available, they would be fitted with the appropriate size and there would be no risk of poorly fitted glasses. Probably not the case given Apple's stance on privacy, but you never know.


    Beats
  • Reply 3 of 37
    F_Kent_DF_Kent_D Posts: 98unconfirmed, member
    ...
    On another note, I have a fun conspiracy theory with regards to Face ID. What if the purpose of Face ID was to get dimensions of peoples faces so when the apple glasses product is available, they would be fitted with the appropriate size and there would be no risk of poorly fitted glasses. Probably not the case given Apple's stance on privacy, but you never know.

    I don’t believe cultivating face shapes/dimensions would infringe on privacy because of the way that even Siri recordings aren’t in any way tied to a specific user, device, and/or account. I believe Apple can use very vague size/dimension data for the design of their glasses. BUT!...Given I’ve never seen any disclaimer provided for the use of FaceID for any other reason as there is when you either opt in or out of the ‘Share Siri Recordings’ with Apple I do not believe they are using or even collecting FaceID data. I’m just an enthusiastic end user so take my opinion as it is just that.

  • Reply 4 of 37
    ralphieralphie Posts: 73member
    Late to the game. 
    Beatschemengin1
  • Reply 5 of 37
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Waiting for some iKnockoff loser to claim "Samsung has been doping this!" not realizing that Apple waits until it can do something RIGHT not just tick a box.

    ralphie said:
    Late to the game. 

    There's other iPhones with display TouchID? Show me.
  • Reply 6 of 37
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Under screen short range radar or millimeter wave scanning might do it.
  • Reply 7 of 37
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    For those thinking this is only about TouchID really don't know Apple. Like FaceID it will be a whole package. It will be deeply integrated into the UI. Maybe this is why they're removing Force Touch?
  • Reply 8 of 37
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    I was quite a fan of the ability to have my phone unlock as I was picking it up so that it would already be open by the time I laid eyes on it.

    Additionally, maybe this can pave the path for notchless iPhones.

    I mean Face ID is cool, but I would not miss it (I mean maybe I would miss Animoji) if the fingerprint scanner was put into the screen.




    WAIT WHAT?? You actually think Apple will remove FaceID?!!

  • Reply 9 of 37
    Under-display TouchID might be added to higher end iPhones as a nice to have back-up, but it will likely be primarily used in the lower end products such as the SE and non-Pro iPads. It may first appear in the rumored 10.8 inch display iPad Air refresh. The device would share the same chassis as the 11 inch pro, but no FaceID or ProMotion display. 
  • Reply 10 of 37
    Beats said:
    Waiting for some iKnockoff loser to claim "Samsung has been doping this!" not realizing that Apple waits until it can do something RIGHT not just tick a box.

    ralphie said:
    Late to the game. 

    There's other iPhones with display TouchID? Show me.

    You may not be aware of what is going on in Android world. Samsung is the ONLY Android OEM who has been implementing the touch id under display wrongly for last 2 years. All of the Chinese OEMs (BBK subsidiaries, Huawei, Xioami etc) and others have got it right for quite some time now (more than 1 year).
  • Reply 11 of 37
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Beats said:
    Waiting for some iKnockoff loser to claim "Samsung has been doping this!" not realizing that Apple waits until it can do something RIGHT not just tick a box.

    ralphie said:
    Late to the game. 

    There's other iPhones with display TouchID? Show me.

    You may not be aware of what is going on in Android world. Samsung is the ONLY Android OEM who has been implementing the touch id under display wrongly for last 2 years. All of the Chinese OEMs (BBK subsidiaries, Huawei, Xioami etc) and others have got it right for quite some time now (more than 1 year).

    Since when has the real iPhone been "late" to the party of knockoff developers? Name an iPhone that has display TouchID.

    Also "got it right" is just history repeating itself. Everyone thinks they "got it right" before Apple comes in and does it THE RIGHT WAY. You're not thinking enough just regurgitating typical anti-Apple BS that we've heard over the past 15 years.

    Examples of companies who "did it first" and "got it right"

    Google Wallet
    Blackberry/Nokia
    Microsoft Hello
    Microsoft tablets
    Pebble
    All of the Chinese OEMs (BBK subsidiaries, Huawei, Xioami etc) and others have got it right for quite some time now (more than 1 year)
    HP Laptops touch buttons

    Remember those arguments? Ah..... the days when people called ApplePay a failure because "My knockoff iPhone has Google Wallet!" before the industry copies pple PAy.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 12 of 37
    LeoMCLeoMC Posts: 84member
    Fingerprint scanner makes no sense...
    Maybe the patent is for an AI-related sensor that senses the presence and fires up the Face ID, unlocking the phone, even before one reaches for the device.
    That's the stuff Apple is (should be) thinking about, not resurrecting ancient features.
  • Reply 13 of 37
    anomeanome Posts: 1,486member
    frantisek said:
    Not surprising. It can be would be great combination with Face ID or essential for iPhone SE 3. Then can not offer phone with thick bezels forever.
    I don't see why not. This whole edge-to-edge screen thing is getting kind of absurd. "Oh noes! There's a full 3mm of my device that doesn't light up! Whatever shall I do?"

    But yeah, I'm on record of saying I want it as well as FaceID, but also that I know of people with use cases where FaceID is no use to them. So I think it should be configurable either as an alternative to FaceID or to work in combination with FaceID for additional security.
  • Reply 14 of 37
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,213member
    civa said:
    FaceID was forced on apple by a government agency, and China, and I have intentionally got an iPhone 8, even though the 10 was out, at the time, to avoid FaceID. 
    That's the dumbest thing I've read today, and I've read a lot of stupid shit.
    StrangeDaysright_said_fred
  • Reply 15 of 37
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    civa said:

    FaceID was forced on apple by a government agency, and China, and I have intentionally got an iPhone 8, even though the 10 was out, at the time, to avoid FaceID. 

    Buh …
    Buh huh …
    Buh huh Bwah hahahahahaha!! 🤣
    StrangeDaysright_said_fred
  • Reply 16 of 37
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    LeoMC said:
    Fingerprint scanner makes no sense...
    Maybe the patent is for an AI-related sensor that senses the presence and fires up the Face ID, unlocking the phone, even before one reaches for the device.
    That's the stuff Apple is (should be) thinking about, not resurrecting ancient features.
    The problem with FaceID is face masks. The Japanese have been wearing them in public for years to make sure they don’t spread germs if they’re out and about with a cold. Now it’s becoming something of the norm, FaceID has a bit of a problem. 
    muthuk_vanalingamMplsP
  • Reply 17 of 37
    LeoMCLeoMC Posts: 84member
    Rayz2016 said:
    LeoMC said:
    Fingerprint scanner makes no sense...
    Maybe the patent is for an AI-related sensor that senses the presence and fires up the Face ID, unlocking the phone, even before one reaches for the device.
    That's the stuff Apple is (should be) thinking about, not resurrecting ancient features.
    The problem with FaceID is face masks. The Japanese have been wearing them in public for years to make sure they don’t spread germs if they’re out and about with a cold. Now it’s becoming something of the norm, FaceID has a bit of a problem. 
    Don't wear a mask.
    There, I've just fixed your problem.
  • Reply 18 of 37
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    LeoMC said:
    Fingerprint scanner makes no sense...
    Maybe the patent is for an AI-related sensor that senses the presence and fires up the Face ID, unlocking the phone, even before one reaches for the device.
    That's the stuff Apple is (should be) thinking about, not resurrecting ancient features.
    They don’t need a dedicated finger sensor for that. They can simply activate it when you put your finger on the screen. And if you swipe up on a locked screen then the phone will activate FaceID anyway. 
  • Reply 19 of 37
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Beats said:
    I was quite a fan of the ability to have my phone unlock as I was picking it up so that it would already be open by the time I laid eyes on it.

    Additionally, maybe this can pave the path for notchless iPhones.

    I mean Face ID is cool, but I would not miss it (I mean maybe I would miss Animoji) if the fingerprint scanner was put into the screen.




    WAIT WHAT?? You actually think Apple will remove FaceID?!!

    No. I think they’ll use both. And I think they’ll want a solution where you can put your finger anywhere on the screen. 

    They might even require a FaceID failure before allowing an attempt with a fingerprint. 

    It’s not like Apple to double up like this, but times are changing. 
    edited July 2020
  • Reply 20 of 37
    LeoMCLeoMC Posts: 84member
    Rayz2016 said:
    This won’t be the last pandemic 

    People won't suddenly begin to wear masks.
    Rayz2016 said:
    They don’t need a dedicated finger sensor for that. 
    We don't know that the patent is for a fingerprint sensor or a sensor embedded in the display that senses the approach of an object like a hand.
This discussion has been closed.