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June 03, 2019

The security features for iphones are already evolved through FaceID & Touch ID, but Apple Watch users have been deprived of any such authentication technology for a long time now. In the beginning of this year Jan 2019, the US Patent & Trademark office issued a wrist biometric sensor Patent application filed by Apple. This latest patent application from Apple paves the way to quite advanced biometric authentication systems.

When our arteries, blood-flow pattern & tendons can not be reproduced or altered, how about using them for authentication. The patent basically indicates that the Apple watch will have biometric sensors, which can sense the texture & the pattern of wearer’s skin. This means the device will unlock automatically once the user wears it. Multiple biometric sensing pixels will be used in the system which means that the sensors will be incorporated not just on the wristband but on the body of the watch as well.

As per the patent, the watch user will have to take certain images of his/her wrist, which captures the blood perfusion pattern of tendons and fascia, hair follicle pattern, an artery pattern, a vein pattern, a vascular pattern, a tendon pattern, skin pigmentation image, pattern of pores, connective tissue pattern etc. All this information will create a reference for the functioning of a multi-layered & plural biometric authentication sensor system. The system might loose all the reference data somehow and the authentication system may fail and therefore the Patent also describes that the device will even have other authentication methods like PINS, passwords, touch IDs and Face IDs along with the biometric authentication system.

The Patent suggests that several biometric authentication sensors which work in different ways could possibly be used in this wrist biometric system. For instance, it may include infrared thermal image sensor which is used to differentiate certain things like hair from the texture of skin. So it could work in a way that, the skin texture & the hair may have two different thermal image pattern associated with them. The system then may perform the authentication task by distinguishing the both thermal patterns. In general course, the skin texture registers warmer and the hairs register cooler than the skin.

Another biometric authentication sensor could be electric field sensor & optical image sensor as well. These biometric sensors for the wrist may be incorporated in the body and the band of the device. For all these biometric sensors to function, there may be a processor in the device which may be programmed to collaborate with the multiplicity of biometric sensing pixels to function properly.

According to Patently Apple, the patent application was registered in Q2 2018. It also names a couple of inventors who were a part of Authen Tec before Apple acquired it for working on Touch ID method.

Well, we never know when we will be seeing such Apple watch with this biometric authentication system but one thing we are sure of is, it is going to be really interesting to witness how it works and performs practically in real life. It will undoubtedly be the exceptionally powerful and innovative authentication system in the field of wearable devices.


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