Samsung patent explores ultrasonic fingerprint
31 July 2018 16:33 GMT

The U.S. Patent Office last week published a patent application from Samsung that describes the use of a biometric sensor for a smartphone using ultrasonic technology.

The patent itself looks to address the error rate that the current fingerprint biometrics is prone to by utilizing ultrasonic technology.

The patent details an area of the device that includes a biometric sensor, which could be an optical image sensor, ultrasonic transmission/reception module, or electrostatic electrode pattern. According to the patent, the biometric sensor can also include an ultrasonic transmission/reception module.

Patently Mobile breaks down the patent issued to Samsung into how the technology could translate to real-world use.

Samsung displays two smartphone form factors using the in-display fingerprint scanner. One is traditional design while the second illustrates an edge-to-edge display form factor.

"With reference to FIG. 5A, the electronic device #500 (smartphone may include a biometric sensor #520 (e.g., fingerprint sensor ) for recognizing biometric information (e.g., fingerprint information) formed in at least one part of a display. With reference to FIG. 5B, the electronic device #530 (smartphone) may include a biometric sensor #550 in at least one part of a display. Samsung later notes that while their ultrasonic based fingerprint scanner is designed for under the display, in fact it could also be positioned and formed on a side or backside of the display or incorporated within a button anywhere on the phone."

The sensor can be attached directly to the underside of the display and therefore improve the conductive rate and consequently accuracy.

Patently Mobile continues to suggest that the implementation could be protected by various materials, which again would contribute to the accuracy and durability of the sensor.

"According to various embodiments, the biometric sensor could be formed at another side of the display of the electronic device. Elastomers (e.g., sponge or rubber) could be formed between the biometric sensor and the display in order to relax an impact or protect an inflow of foreign materials between the biometric sensor and the display.

According to an embodiment, the biometric sensor may include an image sensor. For example, the image sensor can output light (e.g., visible light or infrared light) emitted by a light source (e.g., the display or an infrared light emitting diode (IR LED) to a user's fingerprint, and detect the light reflected by the user's fingerprint."

Cracking an under-display fingerprint sensor and the technology associated to ensure it is not only accurate but also durable would give any device the upper-edge over traditional fingerprint sensor technology and even those that rely purely on facial recognition.

The timing of the patent indicates that the upcoming Note 9 will not see the technology and it will be instead be targeted at the Galaxy S10 .