Although there have been rumors that Apple has abandoned under Touch ID display, Apple continues to work on their patented invention that not only covers Touch ID under the display but also iris imaging and Face ID under the display. In April, Patently Apple posted an IP report titled “Apple wins a patent for Killing the Notch and placing their TrueDepth camera system behind the Display so as not to interfere with content.” Apple will need to execute today’s invention or one like it to ensure that Face ID continues to function under an iPhone display.
Apple’s invention includes a display and an imaging sensor positioned behind the display. The display is constructed from a number of structural and functional layers collectively referred to as a “display stack.” The imaging sensor can be any suitable imaging sensor, including both single-element imaging sensors (eg, photodiodes, phototransistors, photosensitive elements, and so on) and multi-element imaging sensors (eg, complementary metal oxide semiconductor arrays, photodiode arrays, and so on). For convenient reference, imaging sensors – however constructed or implemented – are referred to herein as “optical imaging arrays.”
In many embodiments, an optical imaging array is positioned behind a display and is oriented to receive light transmitted through the display in a direction generally opposite that of light emitted from the display.
The optical imaging array can be used by the electronic device for any suitable imaging, sensing, or data aggregation purpose including, but not limited to: ambient light sensing; proximity sensing; depth sensing; receiving structured light; optical communication; proximity sensing; biometric imaging (eg, fingerprint imaging, iris imaging, facial recognition, and so on); and the like.
Apple’s patent FIG. 1A below depicts an electronic device that can incorporate a display stack suitable for through-display imaging; FIG. 1B depicts a simplified block diagram of the electronic device of FIG. 1A; FIG. 6A depicts an electronic device incorporating a display stack with a locally-increased inter-pixel transmittance.
More specifically, Apple notes it may be appreciated that regions of different pixel densities can be positioned anywhere within an electronic device display. For example, patent FIG. 6A depicts an electronic device # 600 incorporating a display stack defining an active display area # 602 that in turn defines a high pixel density region # 604 and a low pixel density region # 606.
In this example, when a user of the electronic device touches the active display area # 602 above the low pixel density region # 606, the optical imaging array can image the user’s fingerprint. The user’s fingerprint can be imaged when the user’s finger is stationary or moving.
In some cases, the active display area # 602 can display an image or animation that encourages the user to touch a particular part of the low pixel density region # 606 in order that the user’s fingerprint can be captured.
For example, in some embodiments, the active display area can display a shape within the low pixel density region # 606. The shape may be animated in a manner that draws the user’s attention. For example, the shape can pulse, rotate in three dimensions, flash one or more colors, vibrate, and so on. In other cases, other shapes, patterns, or animations are possible.
To review Apple’s patent application number 20220198820 for deeper details and their addition of 20 new patent claims, click here.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.