“Essentially, the patent outlines how an array of acoustic transducers could be used to bounce acoustic signals off of a fingertip when it touches a display surface.”
Apple has been granted another patent related to in-display fingerprint scanning technology.
As AppleInsider reports, this patent is based on acoustic imaging. Essentially, the patent outlines how an array of acoustic transducers could be used to bounce acoustic signals off of a fingertip when it touches a display surface. It could then assess how these signals are reflected to produce a fingerprint image.
The transducers could be placed around the edge of the display, and would theoretically allow for fingerprint imaging anywhere on the display surface. Thus such a system could hypothetically help Apple to compete with sophisticated new in-display fingerprint sensor technologies from rival smartphone makers that are enabling the scanning of multiple fingerprints simultaneously while also expanding the scanning area.
The caveat to keep in mind here is that Apple isn’t currently trying to compete with such systems. The company has gone all-in on its Face ID 3D infrared facial recognition system and abandoned fingerprint scanning entirely on its most recent smartphones. And all of that has happened after Apple first filed this patent in September of 2016.
That having been said, Apple does now possess a growing portfolio of patents pertaining to in-display fingerprint sensor technology. Even if it isn’t currently showing any interest in returning to Touch ID, it could change course as a growing number of rivals – including Apple’s arch-rival, Samsung – seek to use in-display fingerprint scanning technology to help their devices stand out against the competition.