Apple May Replace iPhone Home Button with Fingerprint-Scanning Screen

Apple is working on fitting fingerprint scanners beneath the screen of its iPhone, removing the need for a separate home button, a newly published patent has revealed.

The patent, purchased by Apple as part of its acquisition of a display company called LuxVue in 2014, details a system of using LEDs mounted underneath a display to both detect finger?EU?s position and scan its surface to be able to read a fingerprint.

Apple said in the newly reassigned patent : ?EU?When the fingerprint is placed upon the transparent substrate, the sensing IR diodes within the display panel sense patterned IR light reflected off grooves of the fingerprint surface.

?EU?This patterned IR light is relayed to the output processor as a bitmap where it is processed to determine the fingerprint surface?EU?s unique pattern. Because the display panel can sense IR light, the display panel is able to perform surface profile determination when the display panel is not emitting visible light.?EU?

The LuxVue-developed technology concentrates on using tiny LEDs under the display to replicate the ability to detect the presence of a finger or other interacting element against the glass of a screen. The majority of mobile devices use capacitive touchscreen layers, which detect a change in capacitance when a finger or other conductive element touches the screen. The technology is also used in many fingerprint sensors and other devices, but has drawbacks particularly in cold weather -- they do not work very well when a finger is covered in a glove unless that glove has conductive surface.

The patent describes the use of the array of LED sensors under the display to replicate the functions of both a traditional capacitive touchscreen and a fingerprint scanner, replicating the function of Apple?EU?s Touch ID home button.

Apple states: ?EU?The ability to detect an object?EU?s surface profile while the display panel...

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