Xiaomi patents full-screen fingerprint scanner for future smartphones

Xiaomi Mi 11
(Image credit: Future)

Xiaomi brought the under-display fingerprint scanner on the Redmi K20 and decided to follow the side-mounted option on subsequent handsets. Now, there are rumours of the technology making a comeback on the Redmi K50 as a possible crowd pleaser or to test what the company might do in the future. 

There is a good chance that the Chinese company is testing waters yet again, having now bagged a patent for fingerprint scanning technology that allows users to touch any part of the screen to unlock the phone. Gizmochina reports that Xiaomi was granted the patent by the Chinese national patent database recently. 

Once the company incorporates the new technology, users would not need to place their finger at an exact spot on the smartphone screen to unlock the device. It does not mean that  a casual swipe across the screen would open the handset. Users will still have to place their finger in a stable fashion at any point on the screen. 

iQoo 9 fingerprint sensor

(Image credit: Gizmochina)

Which smartphone will get the tech? 

As of now, there is no information about when Xiaomi might incorporate this new technology on an actual handset. The other question is whether the company would be open to using it on smartphones across price points or whether it would remain the prerogative only of its flagship handsets. 

The current edition of the fingerprint scanner allows users to unlock their handsets by placing their thumb or finger on a specific part of the screen, pre-defined by the button or a display innovation in case we are referring to an under-display scan. 

Coming to the latest patent, information provided on the listing website says that Xiaomi could use a series of LED transmitters beneath the capacitive touch-screen layer and immediately above the standard AMOLED display. Right above the LED light transmitters, would be infrared light receivers. 

And when the user touches the screen to scan their fingerprint, the capacitive touch screen would register where the finger is placed. It then relays the shape of the tip of the finger via the LED light transmitters that send light up the area represented by its shape and position. Thereafter, the infrared light maps the fingerprint outline that is then compared with the saved data to verify the user's identity. 

Xiaomi fingerprint scan technology

(Image credit: China Patent Applications Body)

This isn't the first time that all-screen touch sensitive sensors have made news. Back in August of 2020, Huawei had submitted a patent application for similar technology though we received no information thereafter. Even Apple is said to be toying with an under-display fingerprint sensor for some of its upcoming handsets. 

What we do know for the moment is that this new technology might still be some months away from actually arriving on a smartphone. Till such time, the Redmi K50 appears to be just the right option to re-examine the waters. 

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Raj Narayan

A media veteran who turned a gadget lover fairly recently. An early adopter of Apple products, Raj has an insatiable curiosity for facts and figures which he puts to use in research. He engages in active sport and retreats to his farm during his spare time.