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Apple's Acoustic Imaging Might Replace Touch ID In iPhones

By Edge Ison , Feb 24, 2017 08:53 AM EST
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Rumors of Apple ditching the Touch ID for its next iPhone have been rampant. Another possible replacement has surfaced with Apple's filing of a new patent for acoustic imaging technology.

The supposed anniversary flagship smartphone from Apple, the iPhone 8, has had its share of rumors and leaks but none may be as loud in recent days as the killing of the Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor. With the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office publishing the patent for Apple's acoustic imaging tech last Thursday, many now believe that this will be used instead.

"Acoustic Imaging System Architecture" is described as an innovation in which acoustic transducers are placed under the display or housing of a device to generate acoustic waves that can propagate through the device's coverglass. The transducers will then monitor reflections or diffractions to the acoustic pulses brought about by a foreign object, say, the user's finger. Apple Insider noted that the acoustic imaging tech can be used to detect the user's fingerprint, thus, accomplishing what the Touch ID would have done. It is also possible to configure the tech to recognize hand prints and ear prints.

Apple was initially rumored to be using the Touch ID in its next iPhone when the patent for the tech was granted late last year. 9to5Mac enumerated the possible innovations that will replace Touch ID. The list so far includes facial recognition, gesture recognition, iris recognition, optical fingerprint sensor, and on-screen capacitive touch method. Another recent rumor is that the tech giant is looking at the possibility of incorporating 3D scanning capabilities on its next flagship smartphone. The purchase of RealFace and other Israeli companies involved in 3D tech signifies Apple's deep interest in using the tech. In fact, Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo mentioned that the iPhone 8 will come with a 3D front-facing camera that can scan the user's head in 3D and place it on a character in a mobile game.

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