Apple Patent reveals a System of Optical Emitters under a Device Display that could be used with Face and Touch ID
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to electronic devices (e.g., smartphones, tablet computers, laptop computers, wearable devices, standalone or wall-mounted display screens, and other devices) having under-display optical emitters or transceivers for Face and Touch ID and more.
Apple has filed and been granted many patents on under display technologies over the last few years. Apple was granted a pair of patents back in July that even shares a few images presented in today's patent application, showing that this is an ongoing project. A few other patents from Apple on this technology can be found here: 01, 02, 03, 04 and 05.
Apple's patent background notes that in some cases, it may be desirable to determine whether an object or user is proximate to a device, to determine the distance between an object or user and a device, or to determine a velocity or acceleration of an object or user with respect to a device.
It may also be desirable to capture a two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) image of an object or user that is proximate to a device. In some cases, the 2D or 3D image may be an image of a fingerprint, a face, or a scene in a field of view (FoV).
In some cases, it may be useful to wirelessly transmit or receive information between devices.
It may also be useful to acquire images or data pertaining to a device's environment. In all of these cases, the measurements, images, or other data may be sensed or acquired optically.
Apple's invention covers systems, devices, methods, and apparatus with under-display optical emitters or transceivers.
An optical emitter or transceiver may be positioned under (or behind) a device's display, and light may be transmitted and/or received through translucent or transparent apertures extending from a front surface to a back surface of the display. In this manner, an optical transceiver may transmit and receive "through" a display.
When an optical transceiver is positioned under a device's display, a portion of the device's display surface does not have to be reserved for the optical transceiver, and in some cases the device's display area may be increased.
To maximize the display area of an electronic device, an optical emitter or transceiver may be positioned behind the active area of a device's display. An optical transceiver (or optical sensing transceiver) may be variously configured or deployed as: a proximity sensor (or ranging sensor); a two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) camera in combination with a flood illuminator or structured light source; a bio-authentication sensor (e.g., an infrared (IR) facial recognition sensor or fingerprint sensor); an eye/gaze tracker, device tracker, or other optical tracking system; an optical communication system or wireless communicator or controller; a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor (e.g., a short pulse optical source and a single-photon avalanche-diode (SPAD) detector or SPAD array); and so on.
Apple's patent FIGS. 1A and 1B below illustrate an example embodiment of a device having a display and an under-display optical transceiver.
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Further, Apple's patent FIG. 1B shows light being emitted from an optical emitter (or optical transmitter) of an optical transceiver #118 positioned under (or behind) the display (#104). The emitted light may travel from the optical emitter toward the front cover (#106), and may pass through the front cover. After passing through the front cover, the emitted light may travel toward an object #126, such as a user's finger, face, or ear, reflect or scatter from the object and travel back toward the device as reflected or scattered light.
Apple's patent FIG. 2A below illustrates an example elevation of a display stack including an optical transceiver, and illustrates light that propagates through the display stack.
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Further, the touch sensor #204 may be positioned under the cover (#202), the display (#206) may be positioned under the touch sensor and the optical transceiver may be positioned under the display.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 below illustrates an example plan view of an enlarged portion of the light-emitting display in relation to a set of optical emitters positioned under the display.
Apple's patent FIG. 10 below illustrates a block diagram of the system / electronic device including a light-emitting display, an optical transceiver, and a control system.
For more details, review Apple's patent application number 20210287602 was published today by the U.S. Patent Office.
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Tong Chen: Optical Sensing Engineer
Dong Zheng: Engineering Manager - Sensing Hardware
Graeme Williams: Display Architect
Mark Winkler: Senior Engineering Manager, Laser and Optical Sensing
Warren Rieutort-Louis: Engineering Manager:
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.