Samsung Ends 2016 with Patent Filings looking at Future Scrolling and Folding Devices for Computing and Entertainment
In 2012 Patently Mobile was known as 'Patent Bolt' and it was in that year that we began covering Samsung's inventions regarding foldable smartphones and tablets. Our patent report today marks the forty-seventh Samsung flexible display / foldable / scrollable invention that we've covered over the last four and half years. But truth be told, Samsung has been working on this idea since at least 2008. In January 2009 Samsung showcased their initial concept of the folding smartphone to the public at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas as noted in the video below.
So could Samsung be getting any closer to bringing this concept to market after a decade of research? Industry experts have pointed to 2018 or 2019 as a logical time frame for such a display to emerge that could bend repeatedly without being damaged. Yet with Samsung's growth for 2017 now in question, could they try to pull off a surprise later this year? Unfortunately only time will tell.
Until such time, Samsung's latest foldable device patent abstract provides us with an overview of their invention: "A foldable device includes: a display; a touch panel configured to detect a touch input; a sensing interface configured to detect an angle of the foldable device; and a controller configured to activate the display unit when the angle detected by the sensing unit as the foldable device is unfolded is equal to or greater than a first angle, and activate the touch panel when the angle detected by the sensing unit is equal to or greater than a second angle."
Another focus of this invention is adding security biometric authentication features. The foldable or scrollable devices won't be able to physically unfold or scroll out until user biometric authentication has been achieved.
According to Samsung, the biometric information is not limited to the fingerprint information and the iris information (you'll see further below in other Samsung patent figures), and may include voice information, face information, palm line information, vein distribution information, retina information, movement pattern information, such as walking style information, ECG information, and/or palm print information.
In Samsung's patent FIG. 15 noted below we're able to see an example in which the fingerprint recognizing sensor is disposed in an edge display surface s5. In another example, the edge display surface s5 may be provided at one corner surface of the foldable device or may be exposed even when the foldable device is folded (see FIG. 16) and/or unfolded.
The edge display surface s5 may also be a display region provided on an extending line of a display surface externally exposed while the foldable device is unfolded and curved at least a predetermined angle.
As shown in FIG. 15, when it is determined that user authentication has succeeded through fingerprint recognition while the foldable device is unfolded to within a predetermined angle range, the foldable device is released from the lock state and the pre-set wallpaper may be displayed.
Further, in Samsung's patent FIG. 16 noted above, we're able to see an example in which the iris recognizing camera is disposed on an upper housing rear surface s7 of the foldable device. Also, the fingerprint recognizing sensor may be disposed on a lower housing top surface side region s6.
According to an exemplary embodiment, user authentication may be performed while the foldable device is folded. For example, fingerprint authentication may be performed when the user contacts a finger on the fingerprint recognizing sensor while the foldable device is folded. Here, the foldable device may obtain an eye image of the user through the iris recognizing camera and perform iris authentication.
Beyond the devices being used as smartphones and tablets, Samsung notes that the devices could also be categorized as mobile TVs, navigation devices and more. For more details of this invention, see our full Patently Mobile report here.