Apple is working on bringing Face ID to Macs for user Authentication, Face Gesture Recognition and more
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to adding Face ID to future iMacs and MacBooks that could replace or supplement their current Touch ID biometric system. While the application is straight forward for an iMac with all of the components being at the top of display and able to function like an iPhone. For the MacBook, however, the integration of Face ID is awkwardly designed having some components at the top of the display but having light pattern recognition module that includes the needed dot projector built into the Touch Bar area in the keyboard.
Technically speaking Apple notes that recent advances in computing devices have enabled users to perform a variety of complex functions such as internet browsing, chatting, word processing, graphic design, video editing, and so forth. However, by performing these complex functions, sensitive data associated with these users may be gathered and/or stored by these computing devices. To prevent unauthorized users from accessing this sensitive data, these computing devices may incorporate systems and mechanisms for authenticating users.
The Face ID systems and technique relate to a light pattern recognition module that may be incorporated within a computing device (e.g., a laptop computer, a notebook, a desktop computer, etc.). In particular, the light pattern recognition module includes a light emitter that is capable of projecting a predetermined pattern of light (e.g., infrared light) and a light detector that is capable of detecting a pattern of light caused by reflection of the predetermined pattern of light from an object (e.g., a user). The light pattern recognition module includes a controller that is capable of comparing the predetermined pattern of light to a target pattern of light.
Although the systems and techniques described herein are described with relation to recognizing users and/or authenticating users, the systems and techniques may also be applicable to capturing face gestures and emotions, video chatting, generating emoji, encrypting data, unlocking the computing device, supplementing passwords, differentiating different users, and the like.
The first round of patent figures presented below we're able to see Face ID being incorporated into both future iMacs and MacBooks.
Apple's patent FIG. 7 below illustrates a MacBook with area #750 being where Apple could integrate a "light pattern recognition module" (#750). In some examples, the light pattern recognition module be carried by the multi-function panel #760. In particular, the multi-function panel may be overlaid by a protective layer, which may help to conceal the light pattern recognition module.
In particular, the various embodiments relate to a light pattern recognition module that is capable of emitting a predetermined pattern of light at the user, and subsequently detecting a pattern of light that is reflected by the user for authenticating the user.
The light pattern recognition module includes a light dot projector that is capable of emitting a predetermined pattern of light (e.g., IR light) towards the face of a user in front of the display. The light dot projector may emit a pattern of light dots onto the object in order to form a depth map (or three-dimensional map) of the surface of the object.
In some examples, the pattern of light is in a near-infrared or infrared (IR) light. In particular, the light dot projector is capable of emitting multiple light rays that may not be in the visible light spectrum. As the pattern of light hits the surface of the user's face, the light is reflected back towards the light pattern recognition module at various angles of incidence.
Apple's patent FIG. 11 below illustrates a back view of a desktop # 1000 (iMac). The housing #1010 has a spline shape. FIG. 12 illustrates a magnified back view of the iMac with the housing removed.
More specifically, FIG. 12 illustrates various operational components including an ESD ground spring #1110, microphones #1122, a color indicator light #1124, an RGB camera #1126, and an ambient light sensor #1128.
Additionally, partitions #1150 indicate expanded areas of the bracket assembly #1102 that are capable of accommodating a light emitter #1120, a light detector #1132 (e.g., a camera module, etc.), and a controller #1134.
Apple's patent FIG. 14 above illustrates a system diagram of a computing device. In particular, the detailed view illustrates various components that could be included in any one of the computing devices and/or portable computing devices.
Apple's patent application 20200097747 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q3 2019. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Inventors: WANG; Paul X.; (Cupertino, CA) ; HENDREN; Keith J.; (San Francisco, CA) ; GARELLI; Adam T.; (Santa Clara, CA) ; CLARKE; Antonio; (Cupertino, CA) ; DAIGLE; Joshua L.; (San Francisco, CA) ; MATHEW; Dinesh C.; (Fremont, CA)