Over the years, under-display fingerprint scanners have become the norm for Android smartphones, with most flagship devices coming with some form of an under-display biometric scanner now. Xiaomi though looks set to further innovate on this, as the Chinese giant has recently gotten hold of a patent for a new type of fingerprint scanning technology that will let you unlock your phone by placing your thumb on any part of the screen.
According to the patent details, there will be an array of infrared LED light transmitters between the touch screen layer of the display and the AMOLED panel itself. Above these transmitters meanwhile is another array of infrared light receivers. When a finger is placed onto the screen, the capacitive touch screen layer detects the touch, shape and position of the fingertip. The array of infrared LED light transmitters then emits light out the screen at the location of the finger and only the finger as the LED light transmitters elsewhere on the screen won’t light up.
The infrared light then gets reflected off the fingertip and back into the infrared light receivers. The smartphone then checks through the data received and maps out the fingerprint’s details, comparing it to the saved fingerprints on the device before unlocking itself. If it does work as Xiaomi’s patents says it would, this means that you could use anywhere on the screen to unlock your device. There’s no word just yet though on how accurate or quick this type of fingerprint scanner is compared to the current lineup of optical and ultrasonic fingerprint scanners though.
Incidentally, it’s also not the first time we’ve seen this type of technology patented before. Huawei had previously submitted documents to get a patent of a similar all-screen fingerprint sensor back in August 2020, but since then nothing has come out of it. Xiaomi is arguably in a much better position than Huawei though in the smartphone market, so we could be seeing this pop up in one of their upcoming devices in the coming years. Their experimental MIX lineup of smartphones for example would be a great place to include such a new feature. As for whether they actually do it remains to be seen of course, but it’s certainly an exciting piece of technology.
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