Apple has been granted a patent by USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) that outlines a display that comes baked in with a fingerprint scanner. If implemented in the future lineup this also means that TouchID will be a thing of the past. The patent has been assigned to LuxVue which is a small company that developed low-power microLED and Apple had acquired the same in 2014.
The patent details how a touch display can make use of microLED-sensing technology instead of the matrix hardware that’s currently in use. The larger sensors are replaced with smaller infrared light emitters and sensors in along with the RGB LED display substrate. The specialty here is that the “interactive pixel” can be programmed to perform varied functions including complex touch detection, proximity detection, and ambient light sensing, all of this works when the IR rays are deflected from the user’s fingers and registered on the diodes.
It’s possible to design the display in such a way that the whole screen can scan for users fingerprints or restrict the sensing mechanism to only a certain part of the display. Behind the scenes, a proximate positioning bitmap will be created in order to inform the user of the target’s location and the function surrounding the same. The best part is that bitmaps can accommodate data including the intensity of incoming light which facilitates more advanced analysis the object and the surface curvature.
The patent titled “Interactive display panel with IR diodes ” has been pretty descriptive when it comes to ways in which this technology can be extrapolated. It describes how a microLED with a higher density of interactive pixels can be created in certain areas like the home button. This agent becomes only much more interesting since Apple is rumored to announce an iPhone 8 with OLED bezel-less display and is speculated to ditch a physical home button. While the rumors are going all guns blazing it is only after the actual launch later this year that we will be able to confirm the details, nevertheless, the patent will be an interesting addition to iPhone’s upcoming feature list.