Someday you could use the iPhone 5s Touch ID sensor as a trackpad according to new patent

iPhone-Touch-ID-4According to a new patent revealed by Unwired View, Apple could be planning some really cool things for Touch ID in the future. As you can see from the image above, a possible use for the fingerprint scanning home button is the ability for it to track your finger; in essence, this would make the Touch ID sensor into a trackpad of sorts. Here is a little more explanation of the 612 page patent filing:

The key to your Home button’s capability to act as a trackpad is the extreme sensitivity of a fingerprint sensor. At 500 dpi, the Touch ID sensor is able to read not just overall outline of your fingerprint, but the smallest details of a fingerprint ridges, and it can recognize multiple prints in any orientation, real fast.

All that is needed to transform Touch ID from identification device into a trackpad – is adding the ability to follow changes of scanned fingerprint (or even just small part of it, and its ridges) over time – i.e. tracking its movement over the surface of the button. It might require a lot of processing power to work well, but that’s where 64-bit A7 and future Apple CPUs come in. The rest is software magic, similar to what Apple did with Multi-Touch in 2007. Which, I am sure, engineers in Cupertino are busy perfecting now for Touch ID.

This will allow your iPhone to recognize “Revolving” and “Twisting” finger movements on a Home button.

The crazy part about this is that Apple could bring this ability to existing iPhone 5s devices using a simple software update. Could we see something like this in iOS 8? I guess it is a possibility, but obviously there is nothing confirmed on that front. Personally, I think this would be awesome. This would definitely help in the case that Apple built an iPhone with a larger screen, as it would allow for easier use in one hand and that is something Apple is said to be setting its sights on. Guess we have wait and see.

What do you think? Would you use this on your iPhone? Or do you think the home button shouldn’t be a trackpad? Let us know in the comments, or tweet me @TiP_Kyle.


Via: AppAdvice, Unwired View


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  • Would this mean a cursor on our iOS devices?
    I think another theory for this might be adding this as an accessibility option. If someone can barely move one finger, they can still navigate their icons and applications.

  • BrandanZ

    I think this is awesome! My favorite part of iOS 7 has definitely been all of the gesture based input methods. Not just swiping up to close apps, but I’ve found the ability to pull back open widows in messages, music, photos, etc. very convenient. I find myself rarely using the back arrows at the top of the navigation bar. I think something like this could be awesome for the evolution of apple’s gesture based interface.