One of the current functions of the Iphone’s home button is fingerprint recognition; something that apple may be planning to take to a new level.

How it works

“When the fingerprint is placed upon the transparent substrate, the sensing IR diodes within the display panel sense patterned IR light reflected off grooves of the fingerprint surface.” Apple said, explaining how they plan to utilize a newly purchased patent.

“This patterned IR light is relayed to the output processor as a bitmap where it is processed to determine the fingerprint surface’s unique pattern. Because the display panel can sense IR light, the display panel is able to perform surface profile determination when the display panel is not emitting visible light.”

Apple acquired a display company called LuxVue in 2014, and part of the acquisition was the patent that they are utilizing to replace the home button as a fingerprint scanner. They will be adding sensors beneath the screen that will be able to detect the position of the user’s fingers as well as read its surface to identify his fingerprint.

The application of this new patent is a step forward towards making new all-screen smart phones. Apple, along with other smart phone manufacturers, is working towards moving several functional components, essential to the modern Smartphone, beneath the screen.

Examples of such components are ambient light sensors that adjust the brightness of the screen, or the sensors responsible for turning the screen off when you put the phone against your ear.

Changes

Some companies have opted to place the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, like Google and Huawei. The latest smart-watches from LG use ambient light sensors that can function from beneath the screen.

When functional parts cannot be placed conveniently under the screen, the result is a bezel around the screen to carry them, as in Apple’s Iphone where the home button and the speaker grill are on the bottom bezel, and selfie camera along with the sensors is at the top. This renders the Iphone larger than its competing counterparts.

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 promises an infinity display with a screen covering the face of the phone from one edge to the other, and narrow bezels at the top and bottom of the phone, which means it will be closer to being all-screen than its competitors, but not quite an all-screen phone yet.