Apple patents under-screen fingerprint recognition tech that uses acoustic imaging


Apple's next next iPhone (let's tentatively call it the iPhone 9) could have a fingerprint scanner built under the display glass and it could use acoustic imaging to read your fingers. At least that is what Apple's latest patent with the US patent office reads, and the technology could well be on its way for future iPhones.

The patent details that this new sensor will not nead direct optical access to a fingerprint, so it can be placed under the display glass where an acoustic transducer should be located. A group of acoustic transducers could be placed towards the bottom of devices and send piezoelectric signals to the top, with the returning waves used for the actual fingerprint scans. Interestingly, the tiny ridges and valleys of the skin on your finger produce have different acoustic boundaries and create a unique acoustic pattern, a pulse that can be transformed into electricity and used to recognize you by the system.


However, actually designing such a system faces multiple difficulties and limitations. The needed piezoelectric components operate at higher voltages and are subject to damaging spikes of current. Apple is planning to overcome this threat via a system of integrated transducer controllers that can independently operate both drive and sense modes.

You can take a look at the detailed patent at the source link below, but it is highly technical and probably of interest to engineers and enthusiasts only.

Apple was rumored to try and use an under-glass fingerprint scanner in the iPhone 8 that should be officially announced on September 12th, but it is said to have faced difficulties and the device is now rumored to not have a fingerprint reader at all, instead relying on 3D face recognition. Here's to hoping this new acoustic fingerprint scanning technology will be ready for the 2018 iPhone 9.


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45 Comments

1. drunkenjay

Posts: 1703; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

pretty much confirms no fingerprint sensor. didnt someone say they will have it? hmmm....

3. maherk

Posts: 7029; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Yeah, Bankz did, the Apple, Samsung, Google, LG, Sony, Huawei, even Doogee's insider. So don't trust any reports that says the iPhone won't have an under screen fingerprint scanner, they're speculating it, where as Bankz has confirmed it.

35. sgodsell

Posts: 7605; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I don't understand how Apple got the patent for this, especially since Qualcomm showed off to the public a few years ago an ultrasonic finger print scanner.

45. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

The patent system is broken. You can patent anyone else's tech with minor changes in images and language. Then it is the responsibility of the original inventor to take it up with the patent office and possibly take Apple (in this case) to court, which is what Apple wants.

5. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

Actually this would be a waist of time if face I'd or whatever they calls it takes off. This tech would seem backwards at that point.

19. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Because you are assuming your face will always work and you don't need a backup plan? Such naive thinking. Apple dropping the FPS simply because they couldn't get this to work is stupid. They could have placed the sensor under the Apple logo. In fact, Authentec, Synaptics and others all say they can make a FPS fit almost any button. Now I think the power button is to slim and in order for it to work, you would have to use the swipe method, which you ding-dongs hate and mocked. Even though laptops had them for years and worked with no issue. EVER! But the side of the iPhone or any phone is thick enough to mount it there andf it likely wouldnt require a swipe. OR they could have just mounted it on the back Samsung at least didn't get lazy and leave it off, even though Samsung phones come with several security options to lock a phone like face, iris, finger, pattern and of course pin/passcode.

29. Xilam unregistered

I think backup plan is the PIN code. I rather have the FP sensor since I'm used to it, but if they make face ID work better and more secure than FP sensor than, by all means, move forward. There are two types of people: 1900: I prefer my horse and carriage there's no roads for cars. 1940: Telephones are stupid, no one I know has it. You can express yourself better in a letter. 1960: Hate Cellular Telephones horrible connection - landline works all the time. 1990: electrical cars don't have the range - ill stick to my petrol engines, there are gas stations everywhere. 2007: On screen keyboards suck - I'm never giving up my physical keyboard. 2010: Big screens are stupid - in not walking around with an tablet to my face. 2012: Fingerprint scanners are dark magic, Easy to heck - I will not trust it, because some company tried it and failed. I'm not giving up my fingerprint - that's how the bad government gets you. 2016: Not buying a phone without 3.5mm jack - I like my wires - I'm not give it up my cords. 2017: Fingerprints are the best (see 2012). I will not trust face unlock. Because some other company tried and failed. You see, Ford, Bell, Musk, Choi Gee, and Jobs, had to take up your clueless criticism just to improve your life. It takes courage to break thru the outer layer of the box - but people like you still drink out a baby bottle - because you're used to it and using spoons are prone to spill. For once hava a positive outlook on progression.

38. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The whole poitn of installing an FPS on phones, was so you didn't need to type a passcode or PIN. I personally have a very long password for my unlock. Even the brutish of brute force attack will never figure it out. I know because I have tried. But that doesn't mean I want to have to type to more than when I have too. The FPS is not outdated. In fact, it is the oldest and most reliable form of bio-metrics period. No camera or face or iris scanner is more accurate, because the interaction is physical. Just a physical button on a joy-pad is better than onscreen button on a phone. Yes I agree of all the stupid thinsg that weer said about Android first. Right here on PA, when Android first had Always On Display. They all said it was stupid, was distracting, not novel, gimmicky and more. Then as soon as the iPhone got it, oh its magical useful, a good idea. Apple 3D camera isn't gonna work any better than the face recognition we have. The issue with this form of biometrics is the system is tryign to work, without physical interaction and that maks it less reliable. On my S8+, I phone unlocks almost instantly as long as I hope it the right distance from my face when I pick it up. Same for the Iris Scanner. No biometricis ever 100% accurate and nothign APple can do will change this. While the nerds are all thinking Apple is goign to do some magical thing, look what they did with their patent for wireless charging. NOTHING They did what everyone else is doing. Because the standard for wireless charging from a distance is still in testing phase and the issue is not being bale to turn up the source enough to make it work good enough without potential damage to humans. Apple dropping the FPS is as stupid as them dropping the headphone jack. They didn't replace the tech with anything major or better.

42. Xilam unregistered

Your whole post is: "Apple's technology is bad on the iPhone, I know it for a fact because Apple hasn't released it yet!!!" Do you read your own posts? You just mascaraded your speculation as "FACTS" for a device that even Apple hasn't announced a single detail about.

40. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

My point is that Apple wouldn't remove a feature and push another feature as being just as secure, then return to the FPS a year later. That's backwards. That's like adding a new and improved headphone jack or a CD drive on a MacBook. Once they get rid of something, it's gone!! Besides, Apple has several patents on this type of tech. This is just another one. As for face ID, if it didn't work, they wouldn't have it as the only way outside of pin code. It take "courage" to put all your faith into one solution like this. Samsung knows nothing about this. They would rather give you five different ways to secure your phone and tell you none of them is secure except the FPS that's in an awkward position.

43. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Here is what I think is gonna happen. Because Apple could not implement the under the screen FPS, like you sheeple claimed they had some magic that was goign to beat everyone else and get it done, even when facts already showed it was an industry wide issue. FACT - Companies like Authentec which Apple bought, Synaptics who Samsung tried to use and there was another company PA mentioned that Samsung also sourced and all of them failed. It was proof that money simply can't solve all problems no matter how much of it you have. But you all blasted Samsung as if they were incompetent, when they in fact are the leading tech company in this market for making components, which the iPhone houses 60% of. They couldn't get it to work. Instead of just placing the old one on the back, like any OEM's have already done, they dropped it. Now they will use face. When the facr unlock doesn't work all the time, because it won't. next year the under the screen FPS will be working, And Apple will bring it and then you all will run out an spend another $1000+ on a phone just to have it. That is what is gonna happen. And in fact I will save this post as a reminder of me calling it right now. Question - Has any OEM ever removed a feature only to restore it later in a slightly different form or a better workign form? The answer is yes they all have done so many times. Samsung brought the same features Force Touch brings in the S4. They removed it, and now its back, but on used on the S8 and of course the Note 8. Apple dropped the headphone jack, only to shove it into an adapter which works the same way. Swipe fingerprint readers were dropped and then brought back too. Theer is nothign wrong with it. But at least Samsung said, well we can't do the under the screen FPS, but they didnt take away the option they already had. Rule of tech, is you never remove a technology unless you have a replacement for it. But Apple is the only OEM whose fanclub will just bend over and get fk'd and be ok with it, but if others do it..OMG, they get ridiculed to death. We say this with the Note 7. As many times as people have gotten burned, seen iPhone catch fire, bend, explode, hiss, not work, crash, get duped and everything; you all love it to death and swear all other products are inferior to it, when they have a similar issue. Just because no iPhone has ever been recalled, doesn't mean it shouldn't have. The bending iPhone surely should have been recalled and several people have gotten hurt and injured because of this defect. Just showing you, especially; how much of a hypocrite you are and you double standards. It takes "courage". No it doesn't all it takes if fools like you who will buy the product whether it works great or not. What it does take is "courage" to get ridiculed day in and day out for choosing a product like this and you still keep choosing it. That is what I call courage, along with being an idiot, and being stupid.

23. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1372; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Really?? So this would in your opinion be a Gimmick and Facial recognition is no longer a Gimmick?

37. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Its not waist as in a belt goes around your "waist". The word is "waste" and in stuff you throw away...like throwing your time away talkign about something you don't even understand. Fingerprint reader or bio-metrics are likely far older than you. since the first bio-metric capable computer existed before you were born or even though of. There is nothign better than your fingerprint, that is harder to duplicated vs any other part of your body use for bio-metrics except one...YOUR EYES. A face can be duplicated. It called twins which is the natural form, the other is masks and another is a very good photo. What 3D bio-metrics does is encompasses other parts of your face as part of the data, making using a photo as a method of beating the security harder to work. Harder doesn't mean impossible. In fact I am willing to bet, as soon as the phone is released, someone will post a video of circumventing the 3D feature in a matter of hours. With a 1D or 2D flat image it will be "harder" to dupe the tech. Harder is not equal to impossible. FYI!

30. audibot

Posts: 687; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

pretty much confirms they are stealing Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors that use ultrasonic fingerprint scanner technology to through metal, glass, sapphire and other things including dirt lotion and sweat. I see a new law suit brewing Qualcomm Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint technology VS Apples 3D Acoustic Fingerprint Technology

2. AVVA1

Posts: 228; Member since: Aug 01, 2017

Yeheey

4. yes3sir

Posts: 27; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

So Apple will remove the TouchID just to prank us and add it again one year later? Not gonna happen. Either it will go for good or won't go at all. This isn't an experiment where you f*** with users by telling them 'Oh hey users sorry we couldn't add a TouchID in our iPhone 8 so here is a glass brick without one for a $1000 but we promise we'll add it next year so you can buy it again for $1200. Sowwy'.

12. CableTelcontar

Posts: 98; Member since: Nov 19, 2014

But this is a standard Apple SOP. Hold back something this year, include it next year and charge 200 bucks more.

6. Soundjudgment

Posts: 370; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

Tim Cook punking the World. Who knew?

7. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1475; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Leave it to Apple to patent something their competition has already made.

22. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Because patents don't last forever!

8. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Apple is the world leader in true innovation. They not only innovate certain different technologies but they also innovate mobile devices. THEY ALWAYS SET INDUSTRY STANDARDS.

10. cmdacos

Posts: 4334; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Lol!!

15. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

OMFG LMFAO

20. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Really? Name one thing Apple made which is an industry standard? I dare you. Shows how stupid you are. Here let me list some industry standards and you can pick the one or ones Apple was the leader: SCSI Bluetooth FireWire/IEEE 1394 Universal Serial Bus (USB) USB Type A USB Type C IDE EIDE SSD USF NTFS FAT FAT32 X86 X64 WiFi E-SATA SATA DB-9 DB-15 1080p 720p 1440p 4K 8K 800p 480p 640p BluRay DVD MP3 WAV That's just to name a few standard

26. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1372; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

So, Xerox Parc was not really innovating when Steve jobs visited the facility? So, LG and Samsung never really were innovating in display tech when Tim Cook decided we need a better display on our mobile devices? So, Samsung never rally innovated the flash storage and memory chips that Tim Cook wants in the new iphone 8? So, QC really did not innovate mobile modem designs so that Tim cook had to have the QC modems hampered so the inferior Intel modems could keep up? So they set the industry Standards- let see No NFC support ( industry standard) for years ( and when the support it they cripple it ) No file management ( industry standard) for years No HD displays ( industry standard) for years ( and when they do it they opt for a weird screen resolution) No support of external SD ( industry standard) cards the list can go on an on Pleas step away from the RDF you have been in it to long

31. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Perfect comment.

41. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yep. Only an idiot would agree. Too bad its far from the truth. But truth doesn't matter to an idiot...lets just be clear!

32. audibot

Posts: 687; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

hahahahahahahahhahahaa omg I just pissed myself laughing so hard, thanks piyath i needed that its been a bad weekend so thanks for the great joke keep up the great work

39. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

"They always set industry standards". $1000 says you can't name one. Everything Apple has ever made with exception of one thing has always been proprietary and requires licensing, was expensive to implement because of said licensing and it failed do to a high degree of limitation vs its cost. FireWire was the only standard Apple invented that lasted a reasonable amount of time which was about 10 or 15 years. FireWire was basically Apple version of an existing technology called SCSI. Everyone on this industry knows this as fact. What Apple did was genius.They took the concept of SCSI, which was also costly and hard to implement do to companies using their own way vs making an industry-wide standard for it. SCSI failed for the same reasons FireWire did. Someone developed a standard that was cheaper to implement, has less limitations vs its cost. Which is how things become standard to begin with. SCSI was killed by the invention of IDE and EIDE which manage to duplicate and exceed SCSI speed and do this without needing a proprietary controller. FireWire was killed by USB again because it was able to equal or surpass FW speed and did it will far less cost. But what FireWire did inspire is to drop this need to have so many choice for a simple task and making it work the same with one single option. It was a good idea, that wa spoor executed which was compounded by Apple's typical greed in never wanting to share their tech with the rest of the world. That is why they lead the world in ZERO technology standards of any kind. Apple is not a technology company. They are a computer company that got lucky when a guy who was shopping around his media player concept, got Steve Jobs to invest into the idea and he gave it to them and Apple marketed it with fancy commercials we had not seen and they went from there. If it wasn't for the iPod, Apple would be totally gone. Oh wait. If it wasn't for Microsoft and the iPod, Apple would be gone right now. Oh and mentioning Microsoft had zero to do with the $150M they loaned Apple. It had specifically to do with the fact, Microsoft is the world's largest software developer and if they would have abandoned Apple's platform, other would have followed in thinking if MS isn't doing it, then why should we. Apple right now could not exist without the help of others, including companies you hate like Samsung. Without Samsung the iPhone would be a bigger piece of crap than it is now. Assuming it would have even come into existence. Apple is responsible for ZERO industry standards directly. But Apple surely may have had a hand in forcing others to come up with better alternatives vs Apple greedy proprietary BS, which hasn't changed.

9. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

if face ID takes off, then this will become obsolete. of course other manufacturers will then scramble to copy... led by the copy king as usual. just like the head phone jack that moto, htc, Google, essential and others have started copying less than a year later.

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