Apple Has Patented Screen That Scans Fingerprints Without a Sensor
Reports have come in that Apple currently has a patent pending for a new kind of display that would be able to read something as fine as a fingerprint without a separate scanner built in. The technology behind this display is based on using a new kind of infrared diode and could even be included on the new iPhone 8 when it comes out later this year.
The patent that has been submitted details an interactive display panel that uses micro LEDs to sense what’s happening on the screen and would be miles ahead of the the current TouchID technology Apple is already using. The IR diodes that are embedded in the display would replace the current capacitive touch arrays and would be able to sense in and outgoing light much better, not only giving it the ability to read fingerprints — no mean feat considering the size of the whirls on our hands — but also be able to act as a proximity sensor of a sort.
Apple has not developed this new technology all by itself, a company that they acquired in 2014 called LuxVue has been working on it for years and Apple has simply had the patent reassigned to itself. Whether Apple will be using this technology on the iPhone 8 is as currently unknown since the viability of the new technology is hard to gauge from the schematics included in the patent filing. What is clear, though, is that Apple would very much like to get rid of TouchID and regain some flexibility when designing their new devices.
Whether or not this new technology will be the answer Apple seeks remains to be seen, as will its inclusion in the new iPhone. Even if it is not used so soon, this new technology may mean a real revolution in display technology.
Fergus has been tinkering with computers since he was a kid and likes to put a stop to parties by listing the specs of all the digital devices in the room. It's best not to let him near your computer since he'll take it apart and may not put it back together again before he leaves.