Apple has been granted a patent for technology that would allow it to integrate fingerprint scanning directly into the screen of a device.
The technology comes from LuxVue, a micro-LED specialist the Apple acquired in 2014. It functions via infrared light-sensing diodes embedded in a transparent substrate that lies across the surface of the display screen: When a finger touches the screen, the diodes detect how light interacts with the grooves of its surface, allowing for fingerprint imaging.
It isn’t clear if this technology will form the backbone of the in-display Touch ID system rumored for this year’s anticipated iPhone 8. Patently Apple emphasizes that the patent is specifically for Micro LED displays, while Apple is reportedly planning a Samsung-made OLED display for its next iPhone. Then again, the patent also asserts that the system could be used with OLED displays.
In any case, the patent further underscores Apple’s evident interest in pursuing in-display fingerprint scanning technology, widely seen as the next technological frontier for mobile fingerprint biometrics.