Under-display fingerprint scanners have become the standard for Android smartphones over the years. The majority of flagship handsets now include some type of under-display biometric scanner. Xiaomi, on the other hand, appears to be planning additional advancements in this area. Xiaomi recently filed a patent for a new form of fingerprint scanning technology that would allow you to unlock your phone by placing your thumb on any portion of the screen.
According to the patent documents, there will be an array of infrared LED light transmitters between the touch screen layer of the display and the AMOLED panel. Meanwhile, another array of infrared light receivers sits above these transmitters. The capacitive touch screen layer recognizes the touch, shape, and location of the fingertip. The array of infrared LED light transmitters then emits light from the screen at the finger’s location and just the finger’s location. But, the LED light transmitters on the rest of the screen remain dark.
The infrared light is subsequently reflect back into the infrared light receivers by the fingertip. Before unlocking the device, the smartphone verifies the data received and maps out the fingerprint’s features, comparing them to the recorded fingerprints on the device. If it works as Xiaomi’s patents claim, you’ll be able to unlock your cellphone by tapping anywhere on the screen. There’s no indication of how accurate or fast this fingerprint reader is compared to the current array of optical and ultrasonic fingerprint scanners.
This isn’t the first time this sort of technology has been patented. In August 2020, Huawei submitted papers to get a patent for a comparable all-screen fingerprint sensor. However, nothing has come of it since then. Xiaomi is arguably in a much stronger position in the smartphone market than Huawei. Therefore, we could see this in one of their upcoming devices in the coming years. For example, their experimental MIX smartphone lineup would be an excellent place to implement such a new feature. Of course, whether they do it or not remains to be seen, but it’s an intriguing piece of technology.
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