Apple invents a new Approach to Touch ID by using Multiple Cameras under the Display to capture 3D Fingerprint Data
It's been rumored for some time now that Samsung may introduce ultrasonic fingerprint ID under the display as soon as the Galaxy S10 launches some time in Q1 2019. In an Apple patent that surfaced back in October 2017 we learned that Apple was considering moving Touch ID to under the display and away from the Home Button. In a separate filing we learned that Apple was likewise considering the use of ultrasonic biometric sensing to achieve that goal. Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published yet another patent application from Apple that advances their work of tweaking Touch ID to work with multiple cameras that are capable of capturing a 3D image of the fingerprint.
Although Apple has introduced Face ID with iPhone X last year and plans to extend that biometric feature to more iPhones and perhaps even a top end iPad, Apple may decide to use under the display Touch ID for other iPhone models or devices or provide users and developers a choice of biometrics in the future. The patent filing date was this past January, well after iPhone X debuted. So it would appear to be current thinking. Only time will tell if Apple intends to offer a secondary biometrics option to future iDevices or Macs.
New Approach for Touch ID using 3D Data
Apple's invention covers a finger biometric sensor that may include a dielectric layer having a front surface capable of receiving a user's finger thereon and at least one light source capable of injecting light into the user's finger. The finger biometric sensor may also include a plurality of image sensors adjacent a back surface of the dielectric layer defining a plurality of overlapping target areas directed toward the user's finger. A controller may be capable of collecting image data from the plurality of image sensors based upon diffuse scattering and specular reflections from the user's finger, and generating fingerprint ridge three-dimensional (3D) data.
At least one light source and plurality of image sensors may be relatively positioned to define respective specular reflection angles therebetween. The controller may be capable of generating the fingerprint ridge 3D data based upon the specular reflection angles, for example.
Apple's invention also includes a method aspect of generating fingerprint ridge three-dimensional (3D) data using a finger biometric sensor that includes a dielectric layer having a front surface capable of receiving a user's finger thereon, at least one light source capable of injecting light into the user's finger, and a plurality of image sensors adjacent a back surface of the dielectric layer defining a plurality of overlapping target areas directed toward the user's finger.
The method includes using a controller to collect image data from the plurality of image sensors based upon diffuse scattering and specular reflections from the user's finger, and generate fingerprint ridge 3D data.
Apple's Patent FIGS. 1 and 2 present an iPhone with a fingerprint scanner, 3D scanner under a large portion of the display to capture a user's fingerprint for ID purposes.
Apple's patent FIG. 26 is a schematic diagram of a portion of a finger biometric sensor illustrating overlapping target areas; FIG. 27 is a schematic diagram of a portion of a finger biometric sensor for determining the 3D structure of the fingerprint pattern of the user's finger.
Multiple Camera System
More specifically, in Apple's patent FIG. 26 we're able to see a portion of a finger biometric sensor illustrating overlapping target areas is illustrated. Multiple cameras or image sensors 131a-131e are positioning under the dielectric layer 146, which defines a finger platen or finger biometric sensing area, so that each region of the user's finger #140 are visible in multiple camera views. For each spot on the surface of the user's finger there is intensity data available from several image sensors 131a-131e.
More importantly perhaps is that in patent FIG. 27 above we're able to see that the multiple cameras can determine the 3D structure of the fingerprint pattern of the user's finger, with the controller cooperating with the image sensors to measure the slope of the skin surface across the ridge and valley pattern.
Apple's patent application 20180225498 was filed back in January of this year. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
The single inventor listed on the patent is Dale Setlak, an Apple engineer specializing in sensors and measurement systems who joined Apple after Authentec was acquired by Apple back in July 2012.
Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications and/or granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details. About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Those using abusive language or negative behavior will result in being blacklisted on Disqus.