Apple has been granted a patent for technology that would integrate its Touch ID fingerprint scanning system into the display of a device. As Patently Apple reports, the patent complements a couple of previous filings relating to display-based sensors from last year, and follows its acquisition of intellectual property related to fingerprint biometrics from a company called Privaris.
Unlike the under-glass systems being developed by some fingerprint sensor companies, Apple’s latest patent describes a system that would see a transparent scanner mounted upon a device’s display. The patent also incorporates three different scanning technologies: optical, capacitive, and ultrasonic, with the last being notable for its high level of accuracy and its scarcity in the mass market today.
Also worth noting is the patent’s specific reference to a “driver licence verification application” in its discussion of how this sensor system could be used in a Biometric Personal Identification Device (BPID) configuration regulating access to independent, third-party document data stored in a user’s device. The reference comes in the wake of recent reports that the UK government is working on mobile driver IDs that could be stored on an iPhone.
Of course, as usual, the patent does not necessarily guarantee that any particular products or systems are actively in development, so it remains to be seen what, if anything, Apple does with this technology.