Details of a new patent filed by Apple was published by the US Patent and Trademark office, revealing a technology for an “interactive display with IR diodes.” If Apple follows through on this technology, the company might get rid of a dedicated sensor to read fingerprints in the next iPhone and read fingerprints directly through the screen, instead of relying on a dedicated fingerprint reader built into the home button.
The patent, which reads, “Exemplary methods and systems use a micro light emitting diode (LED) in an active matrix display to emit light and a sensing IR diode to sense light,” was originally filed by micro-LED display company LuxVue in 2014. However, Apple acquired the company and the patent was later reassigned in April last year.
The new design patent differs from the active display matrix and interactive screen hardware often found on other mobile devices, which require two separate devices to be layered together.
According to an AppleInsider report, Apple may be looking to “ditch Touch ID altogether as it moves to a new, more advanced system,” because “a touchscreen capable of acting as an input device and fingerprint scanner would save space and grant greater design flexibility.”
Rumors have long been circulating regarding TouchID and the iPhone 8 , but Apple has yet to reveal what the device will contain, let alone if we’ll see any of this patented tech surface.
Apple, however, is not a pioneer in developing new fingerprint readers. Synoptics has also been breaking ground with a new optical fingerprint sensor and fingerprint readers with built in facial recognition.
Benchmark Electronics will develop Qualcomm’s biometric patches to monitor vital signs and track patients