Apple has Won a Patent for a possible future Apple TV or Home-Automation Remote with Single or Double Touch ID Input & more
I don't know about you, but I hate using my Apple TV remote for entering my ID when renting a movie or two on the weekend. While using my iPhone to enter my ID is a little faster, ideally using Touch ID would simplify this process. Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to adding Touch ID to a future Apple TV remote or perhaps an all-new home automation remote covering television, home devices, doors, appliances and more. It's important to not get caught up in how a next-gen Apple TV remote looks as it's not a design patent, it's simply a utility patent conveying the delivery of a biometrics system being included with a remote.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 illustrates an Apple TV remote with a Touch ID button that collects biometric data wirelessly using one of many communication protocols such as infrared, visible light, sound, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, near-field communication, power line transmission, radio and so forth; FIG. 4 is a flow chart illustrating a method of using biometric characteristics to operate limited access features of an electronic device.
Apple notes that the invention could also one day apply to an in-home multi-device remote to control a thermostat, a heater, air conditioner, security system, iDevices, health devices, sports devices, accessory devices and more.
In other examples, more than one sensor and/or more than one sensor type may be used cooperatively to affirmatively identify a candidate user as an authorized user from multiple, separately measured, biometric characteristics. For example, in certain embodiments multiple fingerprint sensors may be used to identify a candidate user by multiple fingerprints.
In another example, the output from a fingerprint sensor and the output from a vein imaging sensor may be used to identify a candidate user by both a fingerprint and a vein pattern. In this manner, the term `sensor` may be understood to encompass both single and multi-sensor embodiments.
In some cases, multiple sensors of different biometric identification types may be used either independently or collaboratively to provide a biometric identification of a candidate user.
For child and teen protection, parents will be able to lock out certain TV channels or internet sites with a second Touch ID sensor on the remote. Apple even envisions the day when just turning on kitchen appliances could require Touch ID.
Over time, Apple states that the biometric methodology for the remote could be different, such as using retinal or facial images, palm prints, gesture patterns, or even signatures (via Apple Pencil).
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11,210,884.
Mike Divincent: Senior Director of Human Engineering
Rubén Caballero: Vice President of Engineering, 14 years (Now with Microsoft)
Nicole Hollopeter: Human Factors Engineering