Apple Applies for Patent on Fingerprint Sensor Packaging System

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published an Apple patent application (via AppleInsider) filed in February of this year which addresses a system for packaging fingerprint sensors alongside conductive bezels in a single structure. The bezels deliver a small amount of electrical current to the user's finger, allowing the fingerprint to be read by the sensor.

The present disclosure is related to integrated circuit packaging, and more specifically to methods and apparatus for integrally molding a die and one or more bezel structures, with portions of each exposed or at most thinly covered, for fingerprint sensors and the like. [...]

Traditionally, the bezel and the encapsulated die have each been separate elements, brought together in the process of assembling or packaging the sensor apparatus. That is, the bezel and die are not encapsulated together.

upek_fingerprint_sensor_1

Fingerprint sensor package with sensor die (14/16) and conductive bezels (18)

The patent application goes on to describe some of the issues with previous fingerprint sensor assembly methods:

Current fingerprint sensor structures require a number of discrete assembly steps. As the number of discrete elements and manufacturing steps increase, manufacturing cost increases and the potential for faulty or inaccurate assembly that negatively affects product consistency and yield losses increase. Discrete element sub-assembly is also a more time consuming process than integrated manufacturing. As in the general art of IC production, there is significant, ongoing commercial pressure to reduce cost, number of components, and number and complexity of manufacturing steps, and size of the completed structure.

Furthermore, the separate bezel and encapsulated die structures are often undesirably large final devices. Further still, it is desired that the bezel be as physically close to the sensors as possible to optimize the sensitivity of the sensor.

upek_fingerprint_sensor_2

Cross section of finger on integrated sensor package

While the patent application was filed in February of this year, it actually appears to date much further back, as it is a continuation of a previous patent application filed in March 2010 and originally assigned to UPEK, Inc. That company was a 2004 spinoff of STMicroelectronics' fingerprint biometrics business. UPEK merged with AuthenTec in September 2010, and Apple ultimately gained the rights to the intellectual property when it acquired AuthenTec last year. Only one of the three inventors on the patent, Giovanni Gozzini, continues to work for Apple today.

Apple has been rumored to be adding a fingerprint sensor to its upcoming iPhone 5S as a differentiating feature compared to the iPhone 5. Rumors and speculation about Apple's interest in fingerprint sensor technology have been driven largely by its acquisition of Authentec, although evidence of the company's interest in fingerprint recognition dates back considerably further.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

Jazwire Avatar
99 months ago
Given the latest government snooping news, not sure I want my fingerprints easily available.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rjohnstone Avatar
99 months ago

oh boy! here we go with the whole "Apple is just copying" thing again

Oh boy, here we go with getting defensive about seeing facts!
Seriously... grow up. :rolleyes:

Yes... in this instance, Apple is copying a feature that has been used on a mobile phone before.

Let's just hope their implementation is better or it will disappear just as fast as the one on the Atrix did.
Motorola dropped the feature on the Atrix 2.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SPUY767 Avatar
99 months ago
In 2 years when everyone is doing fingerprint scanners like this, it will suddenly have been obvious.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kenwk Avatar
99 months ago

Given the latest government snooping news, not sure I want my fingerprints easily available.


LOL, I am pretty sure the government already has most ppl’s finger print already.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChrisA Avatar
99 months ago

Given the latest government snooping news, not sure I want my fingerprints easily available.


Don't worry. Fingerprint sensors don't store finger prints. Just like Mac OS X does not store your password. In both cases the data are "hashed" and only the hash is saved. If some one looks at a hash they can not know the password or finger print.

----------

I realise this is a long shot, but please make it happen in the 5S.

Entering the passcode may be a first world problem but it is nevertheless tedious. The more of a rush I'm in, the more likely I am to get the darn thing wrong.



I bet you will see this technology on door handles too. Keys are a hassel to cary around. Why not program the doors on your door and house to only open for the "right" people. No "swipe" the entire part of the handle where you grab it could be a sensor.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rjohnstone Avatar
99 months ago

In 2 years when everyone is doing fingerprint scanners like this, it will suddenly have been obvious.

Motorola did it two years ago on the Atrix. ;)
Nice feature, just poor location of the sensor. (it was integrated into the power button)

Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...