Apple Inc., is soon to acquire patents of a Virginia based startup, Privaris that deals with small fingerprint sensors used for authentication process.
The patent that Apple is trying to get its hands on is entitled ‘Fingerprint Biometric Sensor Including Drive Signal Level Updating’ to improve its TouchID sensors that is capable of collecting fingerprint data by using special ‘sensing pixels’ within the screen. Another document indicates that a person can scan his fingerprint on a reader and can unlock cars or house doors. It is expected that it would eliminate the need for a physical ‘home’ button on future iPhone models.
It is quite common on Apple to acquire patents and intellectual property but it does not roll them out to its products. However, noting that Privaris has not updated its website since November 2009, build up ones curiosity. The startup’s website lists Authentec as one of its partners, an entity Apple acquired in 2012 for its TouchID systems. According to other reports, Apple acquired three patents from Privaris on December 19,2012 and were bought in October 2014. Rather than acquiring the whole company, Apple bought its patens after which the startup probably ran out of mainstream tasks which explains the four years of no update on website.
Post acquisition of Metaio by Apple, the company is working full pledged for the betterment of the TouchID systems for the future. It also brings a whole picture as the company has to keep up with the current trends and offer new products and services to consumers. It was also reported a week before that Apple was developing a new iPhone design that features a new advanced chip for its multitouch display that will come with fringerprint sensors integrated in it, possibly replacing the home button.
The display Apple may get as described in the patent application is a LCD display similar to the ones currently being used in the latest generation of iPhones or it could be another type of display like the OLED screens that Apple is reported to be researching. If Apple becomes successful in eliminating the home button, one could expect the display screen to have grown little bigger in the next version.
In another report by Patently Apple, Charlottesville, Virginia, based fingerprint reader startup Privaris announced it recently transferred 26 to 31 patents to Apple. Privaris manufacturers list Authentec as one its technology partner which Apple acquired in 2012. Apart from the recently acquired one, another acquired patent covers biometric access control technology that could allow user to open a door with their iPhone by scanning their fingerprints and holding their phone up to a reader, similar to the way users are able to pay for products with Apple Pay.
Most of the acquired patents from Privaris consists of fingerprint and touchscreen technology to enable transactions, control machines and backup personal data. It looks like the startup has remained in the sleep-mode for the past five years because the deal had mentioned only the patents. So its unlikely that there will be a full-scale acquisition of the startup by Apple.