The Revised iPad's Touch ID Button System could one day be applied to a Future Apple Watch

A new patent reveals a very Ingenious Security System behind Apple's Touch ID for MacBooks & Magic Keyboard

1 cover touch ID on a keyboard - the security system behind it

 

Late yesterday afternoon Patently Apple posted a report titled "The Revised iPad's Touch ID Button System could one day be applied to a Future Apple Watch."  While we're on the topic of Touch ID, a second patent application was published today by the U.S. Patent Office titled "Split Processing of Biometric Data." Apple's patent application explains that there's more to the Touch ID button system on a MacBook or Magic Keyboard that meets the eye. In order to secure the user's fingerprint data, the Touch ID button is only half of the equation, with the host device doing most of the heavy lifting in respect to security.

 

Apple notes that systems that make use of biometric authentication generally employ techniques to protect against the use of fraudulent biometric data to enable unauthorized users to gain access to the system.

 

Apple's invention provides techniques to split the processing of biometric data between a processor on a peripheral device and a processor of a host device that is coupled with the peripheral device.

 

The techniques described enable biometric sensors to be placed on peripheral devices that are not persistently hard-wired to a host device via an internal device interconnect. Interconnects to external peripheral devices may generally be of higher latency and/or lower bandwidth relative to internal interconnects that may be used by integrated biometric sensors.

 

To compensate for the higher latency and/or lower bandwidth associated with an external peripheral interconnect, processing of biometric data may be split between a processor on the peripheral device and a processor of the host device. Pre-processing and pre-validation of biometric data can be performed on the sensor device and/or peripheral device before the data is transmitted over the external peripheral interconnect to the host.

 

Biometric data can be encrypted before transmission and can be maintained in an encrypted format until processed by a secure circuit on the host device.

 

In one embodiment, the biometric sensor on the peripheral device can capture biometric data and pre-process the captured data before the data is relayed to the host processor. The pre-processing can include compiling data captured from multiple sensor elements of the biometric sensor and constructing an image that may be validated by biometric authentication logic. The constructed image can then be adjusting the captured data via calibration data that is specific to the biometric sensor.

 

In one embodiment, voltage data from which the biometric sensor data was derived may be reconstructed using the calibration data. The pre-processing can additionally include pre-validating the captured data to determine if the data is of sufficient quality to enable the host device to perform biometric authentication. In one embodiment, the captured data can be reduced from a capture resolution and/or bit depth to an analysis resolution and/or bit depth before pre-validation.

 

After pre-validation, if the captured data is determined to meet a minimum quality threshold, the captured data is relayed to the host device. The host device can then authenticate the user based on the provided biometric data. Multiple captures can be gathered from the biometric sensor by the processor on the peripheral device and pre-validated until an image of sufficient quality is captured to avoid spending cycles on the host processor for images that are known to be too low of a quality to be successfully validated.

 

Apple's patent FIG. 5 below illustrates a system 500 in which processing of biometric data is split between the peripheral device 105 and the host device 102.

 

4 Touch ID  Splitting Biometric Data

 

Apple's patent FIG. 1 above illustrates a system #100 that includes a host device #102 and a peripheral device #105.

 

For more details, review Apple's patent application 20220303131.

 

Apple's Inventors

 

Martin Ĺ ubert: Machine Learning Engineering Manager

Colin Terndrup: Software Engineer

Vamsi Kambhampati: Senior Software Engineer

 

10.51FX - Patent Application Bar

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