Apple wins a Patent for Under-Display Cameras integrated into iPhones and MacBooks for Biometric Authentication
Apple has filed (01, 02, 03) and been granted under display patents over the last year. On Sunday Mark Gurman pointed to Face ID coming to Macs in the next few years, something that Apple has already filed a specific iMac related patent for. Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple yet another patent relating to an under-display camera for Face ID and/or Touch ID, depending on where the camera is positioned. The patent specifically provides patent figures pointing to an iPhone and MacBook gaining this technology in the future.
According to Apple, an optical imaging array is positioned behind a display and is oriented to receive light transmitted through the display in a direction generally opposite that of light emitted from the display. The optical imaging array can be used by the electronic device for any suitable imaging, sensing, or data aggregation purpose including, but not limited to: ambient light sensing; proximity sensing; depth sensing; receiving structured light; optical communication; proximity sensing; biometric imaging (e.g., fingerprint imaging, iris imaging, facial recognition, and so on); and the like.
A display can be associated with multiple discrete optical imaging arrays, distributed behind different regions of the display and/or configured for different purposes or in different ways, but for simplicity of description, many embodiments that follow reference a construction in which a single optical imaging array is positioned behind an active display area of a display of an electronic device. The embodiments may be altered or adjusted to incorporate discreet optical imaging arrays in a variety of locations relative to a display or non-display surface of an electronic device.
In some embodiments, the user's finger can be illuminated during a fingerprint imaging operation in another manner. For example, in some cases, a side-firing illuminator can be integrated into the display stack. In a side-firing illumination operation, portions of the user's fingerprint in contact with the imaging surface (e.g., ridges of the fingerprint) can diffuse and/or reflect light emitted from the side-firing illuminator. Other light emitted from the illuminator is reflected away from the optical imaging array as a result of total internal reflection.
FIG. 1A below depicts an electronic device that can incorporate a display stack suitable for through-display imaging (camera under display); FIG. 1B depicts a simplified block diagram of the electronic device of FIG. 1A showing various operational and structural components that can be included in an electronic device configured to through-display imaging.
Apple's patent FIG. 6A above depicts an iPhone incorporating a display stack with a locally-increased inter-pixel transmittance; FIG. 6B depicts a MacBook incorporating a display stack with a locally-increased inter-pixel transmittance supporting an under-display camera.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11,073,712.
Giovanni Gozzini: Director of Engineering
Moe (Mohammad) Yeke Yazdandoost: Tech Lead