Although there have been rumors that Apple has discontinued the Touch ID below the screen, Apple continues to work on its patented invention that not only covers the Touch ID below the screen. but also iris imaging and face identification under the screen. In April, Patently Apple released an IP report titled “Apple wins patent for Killing the Notch and puts its TrueDepth camera system behind the display so it won’t interfere with content.” Apple will need to perform Today’s Invention or a similar invention to ensure that Face ID continues to work under an iPhone screen.
Apple’s invention includes a screen and an image sensor positioned behind the screen. The display is constructed from a number of structural and functional layers collectively referred to as the “display stack”. The imaging sensor can be any suitable imaging sensor, including both single-element imaging sensors (eg, photodiodes, phototransistors, photosensitive elements, etc.) and sensors multi-element imaging (eg, complementary metal-oxide semiconductor arrays, photodiode arrays, and soon). For convenient reference, imaging sensors – regardless of their construction or implementation – are referred to herein as “optical imaging arrays”.
In many embodiments, an optical imaging grating is positioned behind a display and is oriented to receive light transmitted through the display in a direction generally opposite to that of light emitted from the display.
The optical imaging array may be used by the electronic device for any suitable imaging, sensing, or data aggregation purpose including, but not limited to: ambient light sensing; proximity detection; depth sensing; receiving structured light; optical communication; proximity detection; biometric imaging (eg, fingerprint imaging, iris imaging, facial recognition, etc.); etc
Apple’s patent FIG. 1A below shows an electronic device that can incorporate a display stack suitable for imaging through the display; FIG. 1B represents a simplified block diagram of the electronic device of FIG. 1A; FIG. 6A shows an electronic device incorporating a display stack with locally increased inter-pixel transmission.
Specifically, Apple notes that it can be appreciated that regions of different pixel densities can be positioned anywhere in an electronic device display. For example, patent FIG. 6A shows an electronic device #600 incorporating a display stack defining an active display area #602 which in turn defines a high pixel density region #604 and a low pixel density region #606.
In this example, when a user of the electronic device touches the active display area #602 above the low pixel density region #606, the optical imaging array can image the user’s fingerprint . The user’s fingerprint can be imaged when the user’s finger is stationary or moving.
In some cases, the active display area #602 may display an image or animation that encourages the user to touch a particular part of the low pixel density region #606 so that the user’s fingerprint can be captured.
For example, in some embodiments, the active display area may display a shape in the low pixel density region #606. The shape can be animated in a way that grabs the user’s attention. For example, the shape can pulsate, rotate in three dimensions, flash one or more colors, vibrate, etc. In other cases, other shapes, patterns or animations are possible.
To view Apple’s patent application number 20220198820 for more details and their addition of 20 new patent claims, click here.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of bringing such a product to market is unknown at this time.