Samsung patent filing shows multi-finger under-display biometrics to improve smartphone authentication

Fingerprint biometrics on mobile devices have thus far mostly been offered as a convenience feature, with challenges related to device design, and sensor price and effectiveness through displays keeping accuracy far below some other fingerprinting systems.

Samsung has applied for a patent on an under display biometric system to take prints from three fingers at once, Patently Apple reports. The filing, published by the U.S. Patent Office, describes an area being illuminated to show the area covered by fingerprint sensors, as well as user identification based on a pattern drawn on the screen.

Using multiple fingers for the same user authentication could dramatically improve the biometric performance of the system. Recent NIST testing on contactless fingerprinting shows major gains in accuracy with recognizing prints from multiple fingers instead of one.

The pattern could be used to identify the individual, but is also presented as a way to signal to the device an intention to use fingerprint recognition. The placement of three fingers on the display could also activate the fingerprint biometric function.

The patent also specifies that as the fingerprint sensor may not read the whole display area, the scan area is illuminated to guide the user.

The patent was first filed in Korea in January 2019, and then later that year in the U.S.

Patently Apple points out that Huawei offers a choice of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics on its higher-end smartphones, and while Apple users have had one or the other available, there are indications that under-display fingerprinting may join Face ID as native authentication methods on the next iPhone.

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