Fingerprint to Face ID, the Smartphone Bezel is melting Away

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Screen lock security has become an integral requirement for smartphones. It is no wonder that smartphone concept designers are focusing their R&D efforts in creating futuristic features that can be hidden under a smartphone’s display. The conventional smartphone has a 3D Touch which simulates … (Featured image is intended for representational purpose alone and has been sourced from https://pixabay.com/en/smartphone-mobile-phone-touch-695164/ )

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Screen lock security has become an integral requirement for smartphones. It is no wonder that smartphone concept designers are focusing their R&D efforts in creating futuristic features that can be hidden under a smartphone’s display.

The conventional smartphone has a 3D Touch which simulates Home Button presses, while fingerprint recognition incorporates the Touch ID sensor into the display itself. Industry players, including majors such as Apple, Samsung, Vivo and Qualcomm are actively exploring this technology space.

Apple

Apple owns a patent US 9652066B2 that discloses conductive touch screen and touch sensitive pixel technology. The technology discusses a fingerprint biometric layer on top of the display which can conduct the touch to touch-sensitive pixels and authenticate fingerprint.

Patent US 9652066B2 granted to Apple Inc. discloses a finger biometric sensor embedded in the touchscreen of the mobile device.

However, this futuristic feature comes with a price. Lack of space on the front of the phone pushes few utility features such as the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone. Industry majors are investing to develop a method to place the fingerprint scanner inside the display panel itself.

But Apple has gone a step ahead in authentication. The latest iteration of iPhone – the iPhone X – comes with an extensive display and doesn’t have room for a fingerprint sensor at all. iPhone X has included Face ID recognition that is powered by a variety of sensors, one being the “dot projector”. To know more about this, check out our blog iPhone X & its OLED – Going Behind the Screen.

Qualcomm

Qualcomm’s patent US 8601876B2 describes the use of plane waves for ultrasonic fingerprint scanning. A study of this technology finds it working on a method that employs ultrasonic waves to detect biometric print to authenticate a smartphone user.

Source: Patent US 8601876B2

This screen embedded fingerprint scanner is limited to a certain biometric area under the screen to which Qualcomm aims to develop new fingerprint scanners that work through displays, thick glass and metal. They are also expected to operate underwater, and detect heartbeat and blood flow. The touch intensity sensing glass sends a biometric signal to the sensor underneath the glass, and if the pressure and biometric details match, then the phone gets unlocked.

Vivo’s smartphone unlocks when a finger is placed on a specific spot on the screen, which is marked as a dedicated area for fingerprint scanning. The screen disappears once the fingerprint is authenticated. This technology is based on Qualcomm’s patent US 8601876B2.

Samsung

Comparing the fast speeds of fingerprint sensors among various smartphones, Samsung tends to offer a fast unlock feature using its back placed fingerprint scanner. Samsung has also filed a patent US 20170316250A1 that describes a technology for a pressure sensitive touchscreen to allow for an on-display embedded fingerprint scanner.

Source: Patent US 20170316250A1

Samsung has revolutionized the smartphone industry with its edge-to-edge picture-viewing experience by introducing a bezel-less display called the ‘Infinity Display’. In the race to develop innovative technology, companies such as Oneplus, Xiaomi and HTC will soon adopt the bezel-free concept with the display screen alone to authenticate smartphone users. Until then Apple and Samsung will continue to chip away at the bezel millimeter by millimeter.

Featured image is intended for representational purpose alone and has been sourced from https://pixabay.com/en/smartphone-mobile-phone-touch-695164/ 

Ravneet Virdi
Ravneet Virdi

Ravneet is a mathematics and computer science specialist, and a keen Marques Brownlee follower. In his free time he enjoys reading about the latest developments in the smartphone industry.


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