It’s highly likely that Apple will be replacing the Touch ID Home button in the next iPhone. So far, we’ve seen evidence of an optical fingerprint sensor, facial and gesture recognition, and much more. However, in a patent Apple filed today, we’ve got another glimpse into an option for removing the Home button.
The patent, which is titled titled “Acoustic Imaging System Architecture”, describes using transducers, a controller, and an image resolver to authenticate.
The transducers convert electrical signals into mechanical energy and/or mechanical energy into electrical signals. The controller is adapted to apply an electrical signal to the transducers which, in response, induce a mechanical wave, such as a surface wave, into the circumscribed portion. The controller is also adapted to receive electrical signals from the transducers. The image resolver uses the electrical signals received by the controller in order to construct an image of an object in physical contact with the substrate.
Two of the more obvious benefits is that it has the flexibility of being arranged and implemented in a wide variety of ways, and that it can be used with a ton of materials.
7. The acoustic imaging sensor of claim 1, wherein: the substrate is rectangular; and the distribution of transducers is arranged as a row adjacent to an upper perimeter of the circumscribed portion.
8. The acoustic imaging sensor of claim 7, wherein the distribution of transducers is a first distribution of transducers and the acoustic imaging sensor further comprises: a second distribution of transducers, the second distribution of transducers arranged as a column adjacent to a side perimeter of the circumscribed portion.
9. The acoustic imaging sensor of claim 1, the distribution of transducers is arranged as a row adjacent a rectilinear edge of the substrate.
10. The acoustic imaging sensor of claim 1, the distribution of transducers is arranged as multiple parallel rows adjacent a rectilinear edge of the substrate.
In one example, the substrate is a transparent cover of a display an electronic device formed from glass, sapphire, or another optically transparent material.
With an all glass iPhone 8, it’s possible that Apple could bring this to the back of the device, in addition to the front. However, in a paragraph titled “DETAILED DESCRIPTION” it appears that the company wants to focus it on being a Touch ID sensor for the time being.