Apple has won a patent for a plethora of future sensors that could reside anywhere underneath a display for Face or Touch ID, Gaze & Gesture Tracking+
Apple has been granted a patent for what seems to be, in-part, related to the iPhone 14's 'Dynamic Island.' Apple's patent states that "The Display may include transparent windows with one or more underlying sensors along the top border of the display, at a corner of the display (e.g., a rounded corner of the display), in the center portion along the top edge of the display (e.g., a notch area in the display), etc. The areas in the display with transparent windows may have different shapes and sizes."
A notch that's able to present different shapes and sizes translates to being the Dynamic Island. Yet the patent goes far beyond this single feature.
In addition, Apple's patent doesn't restrict itself to just the iPhone. Apple notes that the invention could apply to Macs, an iPad, Apple Watch, future eyeglasses and a mixed reality headset, a heads-up display in a vehicle and more.
According to Apple's patent, the sensors under the display that could be hidden, include those for Touch ID, sensors for measuring three-dimensional non-contact gestures (“air gestures”), pressure sensors, sensors for detecting position, orientation, and/or motion (e.g., accelerometers, magnetic sensors such as compass sensors, gyroscopes, and/or inertial measurement units that contain some or all of these sensors), health sensors and more.
The sensors beneath the display could also include optical sensors such as self-mixing sensors and light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors that gather time-of-flight measurements, humidity sensors, moisture sensors, gaze tracking sensors, and/or other sensors.
In some arrangements, the device may use sensors and/or other input-output devices to gather user input (e.g., buttons may be used to gather button press input, touch sensors overlapping displays can be used for gathering user touch screen input, touch pads may be used in gathering touch input, microphones may be used for gathering audio input, accelerometers may be used in monitoring when a finger contacts an input surface and may therefore be used to gather finger press input, etc.).
Apple's patent FIG. 3 below is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative display stack that at least partially covers a sensor in accordance with an embodiment; FIG. 5 is a top view of an illustrative display with transparent openings that overlap a sensor.
For more details on this interesting invention, review Apple's granted patent US 11567311 B1.
In April 2022, Patently Apple posted a granted patent report titled "Apple wins a patent for Killing the Notch and placing their TrueDepth camera system behind the Display so as to not interfere with content." Apple's latest patent expands on this theme.
- Jean-Pierre Guillou: Display Engineering
- Ming Xu: Sr Engineering Manager
- Yue Cui: Display Optical Engineer
- Yi Qiao: Physicist