CrucialTec has secured an in-display fingerprint solution patent in the US, according to a new report out of The Investor. According to the report, CrucialTec has confirmed the patent approval which revolves around what the company calls its “Display Fingerprint Solution” (DFS). This solution is expected to allow smartphone users to unlock and/or authenticate themselves by simply placing a finger directly on the smartphone display. This is due to the fingerprint sensor being embedded directly in the display, with the explanation that all of the parts of the sensor are transparent in nature.
The report also looks to confirm that the company plans to launch DFS-equipped devices “as early as this year” with the information suggesting smart phones and wearable devices will be the first devices to have the technology included. According to comments reportedly provided by a Crucial Tec official, while Smartphone displays will localize the technology in a specific place, smart watches will likely see the entire display equipped with DFS.

Patent number: 9552508

The present invention relates to a fingerprint sensor module having excellent sensing sensitivity, to a portable electronic device including same, and to a method for manufacturing same. According to one embodiment of the present invention, a fingerprint sensor module is provided which includes: a sensing unit formed on a substrate using a conductive body; a fingerprint sensor having a sensor circuit unit electrically connected to the sensing unit; a bracket accommodating the sensing unit and receiving the fingerprint sensor; and a post-processing layer positioned on a contact surface formed on the bracket so as to face the upper surface of the sensing unit. The sum of the thickness of a supporting layer between the upper surface of the sensing unit and the contact surface, and the thickness of the post-processing layer is 0.04 mm to 0.06 mm.

It isn’t yet clear exactly how the technology works, but according to the report the sensor can be embedded under a mobile display, and can be easily integrated into existing production lines, potentially allowing for inexpensive integrations for cost-conscious OEMs. The Investor reports that it’s the product on an R&D effort that has been underway at CrucialTec since 2012. CrucialTec certainly isn’t the only company that has been working toward in-display fingerprint sensors. Fingerprint Cards made pioneering advancements late last year with its under-glass sensor deployments on Huawei smartphones, and Goodix announced an in-display fingerprint sensor at this year’s Mobile World Congress. Meanwhile, Apple is thought to have been quietly working on an in-display solution for this year’s new iPhone, but details on that technology, inasmuch as it exists, are entirely under wraps.

Close to technology

CrucialTec, then, appears to be near the front of the field. And if its solution is as inexpensive to implement as is claimed, it may get a lot of interest from OEMs eager to implement it, especially if Apple helps to popularize in-display sensors with its new device. While not directly confirmed, it does seem as though this US patent approval is a follow-on from a similar patent approval that was reported on last month. At that time, CrucialTec were again noted obtaining a patent, although on that occasion the patent was for a “transparent fingerprint sensor.” At the time, it was also reported that the company was looking to obtain an expanded number of patents surrounding the technology. With this latest patent seemingly part of that expansion.
As such, this latest patent approval does suggest that the technology is edging closer to becoming available to consumers. Speaking of which, the suggested 2017 arrival time for an in-display fingerprint sensor ties in nicely with a report that initially came through in February of this year. One which also looked to confirm Crucial Tec’s plans to introduce in-display fingerprint sensors before the end of this year. A time-frame that also seems to fit neatly with the recent trend in Smartphone manufacturers looking to maximize the display to body ration of a smart phone’s front panel, by downgraded the bezel levels in use. The introduction of in-display fingerprint sensors like DFS will likely further help to fuel and maintain that particular design trend.