There have been rumors about a new Touch ID sensor this month and today two patent applications from Apple surface concerning updates to Apple's new fingerprint feature. The first generally relates to circuits that may be used to support fingerprint sensing, including boost circuits, such as inductive boost circuits. The second relates to circuits and packaging for fingerprint sensors.
1. Capacitive Sensor Packaging Invention
Apple's patent FIG. 1 shows a conceptual drawing of a fingerprint recognition sensor included in a portion of a device.
Apple's patent application provides techniques, including circuits and designs, which can receive information with respect to fingerprint images, and which can be incorporated into devices using fingerprint recognition. For example, the fingerprint sensor can be disposed beneath a control button or display element, for fingerprint recognition and authentication while the device is being operated by a user. There's a lot of detail to this invention titled "Capacitive Sensor Packaging," which could reviewed here.
2. Capacitive Sensing Array Modulation Invention
Apple's patent FIG. 2 depicts a block diagram of an embodiment of a capacitive sensing array.
Apple's patent application relates to a capacitive fingerprint sensor that may be formed of an array of sensing elements. Each capacitive sensing element of the array may register a voltage that varies with the capacitance of a capacitive coupling. A finger may capacitively couple to the individual capacitive sensing elements of the sensor, such that the sensor may sense a capacitance between each capacitive sensing element and the flesh of the fingerprint. The capacitance signal may be detected by sensing the change in voltage on the capacitive sensing element as the relative voltage between the finger and the sensing chip is changed. Alternately, the capacitance signal may be detected by sensing the change in charge received by the capacitive sensing elements as the relative voltage between the finger and the sensing chip is changed.
For more on Apple's invention, see patent application 20140218339 here.
Apple notes that their fingerprint technology could one day apply to future MacBooks and the iMac, beyond the iPhone and iPad.
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