Apple wins Patent for Next-Gen Touch ID using 'Shortwave Infrared Light' Technology set beneath iDevice Displays
In October 2019 Patently Apple posted a patent application report titled "Apple Reveals Touch ID under the Display will use Sensors that consist of Optical Imaging Arrays." Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple this patent that relates to the possible future use of next-gen Touch ID technology involving an image sensor that is positioned under the display instead of the current Touch ID system using an iPhone or iPad button.
The key to Apple's patent is the use of an optical imaging system that includes a light emitting element configured to emit shortwave infrared light through the display and a photosensitive element optically isolated from the light emitting element and configured to receive (through the display) a reflection from the interface surface corresponding to a portion of an image of the finger.
Apple uses the Term "Shortwave Infrared light" 15 times in their patent claims alone. In total, the term is presented 65 times.
Apple’s patent FIG. 1A below depicts an electronic device that can incorporate a display stack suitable for through-display imaging; FIG. 1B depicts a simplified block diagram of the electronic device of FIG. 1A; FIG. 6A depicts an electronic device incorporating a display stack with a locally-increased inter-pixel transmittance.
More specifically, Apple notes it may be appreciated that regions of different pixel densities can be positioned anywhere within an electronic device display. For example, patent FIG. 6A depicts an electronic device #600 incorporating a display stack defining an active display area #602 that in turn defines a high pixel density region #604 and a low pixel density region #606.
In one embodiment, the low pixel density region is positioned above and aligned with an imaging aperture that in turn is positioned above and aligned with an optical imaging array.
In this example, when a user of the electronic device touches the active display area #602 above the low pixel density region #606, the optical imaging array can image the user's fingerprint. The user's fingerprint can be imaged when the user's finger is stationary or moving.
For example, in one embodiment, the user's fingerprint can be imaged when the user slides from one side of the low pixel density region #606 to another side of the low pixel density region.
For more on this, review our 2019 report here or review granted patent 10,824,837.