Apple secures patent for next-generation touch ID using ‘Software Infrared Light’.

The USPTO has just granted Apple a patent in relation to the touch ID of its devices, which is now set to the positioned under the screen, as opposed to requiring the use of a home button. As per the patent, the system is set to use optical imaging which would emit shortwave infrared light through the display and will in turn receive a reflection from the corresponding image of the finger. 

The system uses a range of different pixel density, with the least frequent pixels being placed at the bottom of the device, where a buttonless phone would typically be unlocked. The patent demonstrates the pixel density will be set to increase the higher up the screen goes. This is due to the fact that a lesser density of pixels is required to correctly detect a fingerprint and thus unlock the user’s phone. In one embodiment, the user’s fingerprint can be imaged when they slide from one side of the low pixel density area to the other side.

This idea appears to be anything but revolutionary as many smartphones can be seen to adopt this structure, including Apple’s older models. The idea of unlocking an Apple device through Face ID was much more innovative, however, it appears Apple are possibly keen to return to older ways of unlocking the future iPhone.

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