In 2016, Qualcomm introduced Sense ID, an ultrasonic method of capturing biometric data for authentication purposes — or, more simply said, reading fingerprints by vibrating sound waves off the ridges and generating a log pattern.
It’s been slow work to bettering and spreading that technology around, but with fingerprint readers on Android phones getting buried underneath smartphones’ displays, the hope is that this will be the year ultrasonic technology gets its moment with Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S10+.
Apple has been dipping its toes into improving fingerprint sensing as well — even with Face ID facial depth mapping on the newest iPhones being touted as more secure, it has never been as convenient for users as Touch ID. And it sounds like the company’s on the ultrasonic train as well.
It has filed for a patent in the United States that allows fingerprints to be read off the display. But instead of placing the fingerprint directly on top of acoustic transducers that pulse to generate an echo pattern, the patent suggests that the transducers be placed in an array around the edge of the display.