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
112 months ago
Given the latest government snooping news, not sure I want my fingerprints easily available.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rjohnstone Avatar
112 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
112 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
112 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
112 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
112 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)

Popular Stories

intel vs m1 max chip purple

Benchmarks Confirm Intel's Latest Core i9 Chip Outperforms Apple's M1 Max With Several Caveats

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Benchmark results have started to surface for MSI's new GE76 Raider, one of the first laptops to be powered by Intel's new 12th-generation Core i9 processor. Intel previously said that its new high-end Core i9 processor is faster than Apple's M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and, as noted by Macworld, early Geekbench 5 results do appear to confirm this claim, but there are several...
General Dropbox Feature

macOS 12.3 Will Include Cloud Storage Changes Affecting Dropbox and OneDrive

Tuesday January 25, 2022 3:31 pm PST by
Dropbox today announced that users who update to macOS 12.3 once that software version becomes available may temporarily encounter issues with opening online-only files in some third-party apps on their Mac. In a support document and an email to customers, Dropbox said it is actively working on full support for online-only files on macOS 12.3 and will begin rolling out an updated version of...
Apple Watch Red Yellow Green Feature 1

Apple Launches Black Unity Braided Solo Loop With 'Unity Lights' Watch Face

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:05 am PST by
Apple today announced the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop for the Apple Watch, as well as a new downloadable watch face, to celebrate Black History Month. Following the launch of the limited edition Black Unity Apple Watch Series 6 and Sport Band in 2021, Apple today launched the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop as part of its celebrations for Black History Month this year.Apple is launching a...
ios 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 With Fix for Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3, the third major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.3 come almost two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 15.2.1, minor bug fix updates. The iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in ...
iOS 15

Everything New in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4: Face ID With a Mask, Emojis, Apple Card Widget, Universal Control and More

Thursday January 27, 2022 12:08 pm PST by
Apple today seeded the first betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4 to developers for testing purposes, adding a slew of new features to the latest iOS operating systems. iOS 15.4 is the biggest update that we've had to iOS 15 to date, and it brings Universal Control, Face ID with a mask, new emojis, and tons more. Face ID With a Mask With iOS 15.4, there is now an option to unlock your iPhone...
mobeewave

Upcoming iOS Update Will Allow iPhones to Accept Credit Cards Directly Using NFC

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:00 pm PST by
Apple is working on a new payments service that will allow iPhones to accept payments directly on device with no additional hardware, reports Bloomberg. Right now, iPhones can accept credit cards with add-ons like the Square Reader, but Apple's new technology will eliminate the need for a third-party product. Individuals and small businesses will be able to accept payments with the tap of a...
macOS Monterey on MBP Feature

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.2 With Safari Vulnerability Fix

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:19 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.2, the second major update to the macOS Monterey update that launched in October. macOS Monterey 12.2 comes over a month after the release of the 12.1 update, which brought SharePlay support. The ‌‌‌macOS Monterey 12.2‌‌ update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. Apple has also...