With the iPhone 8 highly anticipated to have a bezel-free design, Apple has to figure out how to reincorporate some key components such as the front facing speaker, camera, ambient light sensor, and of course the Touch ID Home button.
One technology Apple has explored is ultrasonic imaging. A previous patent described this method as ‘the most accurate but least common finger-scanning technology,’ and another patent today further emphasizes this technology.
Apple says that the new technology avoids two major issues with fingerprint sensors today, including the existing Touch ID sensors.
Contaminants such as grease, lotion, dirt, sweat, and food particles on a finger can degrade a captured fingerprint image, which can prevent a fingerprint sensing device from matching the captured fingerprint image to a known fingerprint image. Alternatively, a finger contacting an input surface of the fingerprint sensing device with too much or too little pressure can reduce the quality of the captured fingerprint image and prevent the fingerprint sensing device from recognizing the user.
The patent says that this method would benefit sensors both embedded into the display and traditional fingerprint sensors.