Apple jumpstarted the consumer biometrics industry when it rolled out Touch ID with the iPhone 5S. However, the electronics giant has exchanged the platform for Face ID on newer models, and a new patent suggests the company is still searching for new forms of biometric authentication.
The US Patent and Trademark Office recently published a patent for a wrist sensor that would be incorporated into the band or body of the Apple Watch. Created by an inventor working with AuthenTec – the same company that pioneered Apple’s Touch ID technology – the sensor is located inside the band and would use skin texture patterns to authenticate the identity of the wearer. The invention could also include an infrared thermal image sensor, which would read heat signatures associated with the skin and hair.
Either way, the upshot is the sensor would allow the Apple Watch to verify the identity of its wearer as soon as they strap on the device, without the need for any other form of authentication. Filed in Q2 2018, the authentication sensor could be added to the Apple Watch alongside another Apple invention – a band sensor designed to measure athletic performance.
The wrist sensor is still nothing more than a patent, so Apple could opt for Face ID or Touch ID for the Apple Watch. Even so, the new patent reflects Apple’s ongoing commitment to biometric identification on mobile devices.
(Source: Patently Apple)
January 18, 2019 – by Eric Weiss