Samsung Display has unveiled a new generation of OLED panel that it says can recognize a fingerprint anywhere on the screen and even check a user’s heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels using multiple simultaneous finger readouts.
Samsung OLED display at SID Display Week 2023
Fingerprint sensors in smartphones are usually attached to the bottom of the display panel as a separate unit and are only sensitive to fingerprint data on a limited part of the screen. By contrast, Samsung’s new “OLED Sensor Display” extends that sensitivity to the entire screen by including an organic light-sensitive diode (OPD) in the panel itself.
The technology currently being shown off at SID Display Week 2023 opens up some exciting possibilities for future smartphones, such as multi-finger authentication (putting four fingers on the screen, for example), which can provide many thousands upon millions of security stronger than single. Finger.
Another potential feature could be the ability to authenticate to individual apps on the phone’s home screen by simply placing a finger on the app’s icon to unlock it, replacing the need for a passcode or face authentication.
But perhaps the most interesting claim is the Sensor OLED display’s ability to check cardiovascular health, including blood pressure when using two fingers.
“To accurately measure a person’s blood pressure, it is necessary to measure the blood pressure in both arms,” Samsung Display’s press release notes. The Sensor OLED screen can sense the fingers of both hands at the same time, providing more accurate health information than current wearable devices.
Samsung says the system works because the OLED light reflects off differently depending on the contraction and relaxation of the blood vessels inside the finger, and when it returns to the pad, the OPD can recognize it and convert it into a blood pressure reading.
OLED Screen Sensor for measuring blood pressure and heart rate
Samsung hasn’t provided information on the resolution or speed of its Sensor OLED display, nor has it indicated whether authentication and biometric readings can be taken at the same time, but the company clearly has confidence that the technology is destined for smartphones in the near future.
Could it or something similar one day appear in the iPhone? It’s no secret that Apple has been working on a Touch ID system designed to be placed under the display since at least 2013, with several patents granted to the company over the years. Indeed, despite claims that an under-display Touch ID on a future iPhone is unlikely, Apple has, if anything, ramped up its research into under-display fingerprint sensor technology.
Earlier this year, Apple patented an under-display Touch ID that combines shortwave infrared technology with an optical imaging system that can have multiple functions. The latest version aims not only to read a user’s fingerprint when they touch the screen, but it can also identify vein pattern, blood oxygen, pulse, presence of gloves, and wetness.
At this point, we can’t be sure that Apple will put Touch ID under iPhone screens. There’s also still the possibility that Apple might instead offer an iPhone with Touch ID built into a physical side button, in line with the latest iPad Air and iPad mini models, though there haven’t been any rumors that Apple plans to go this route.
Apple’s roadmap for under-display technology, as outlined by DSCC industry consultant Ross Young, indicates that it’s unlikely we’ll see an under-display version of Touch ID in the iPhone anytime soon. Apple appears to be more focused on moving Face ID and the front-facing camera under the screen, both of which it aims to achieve by 2027.
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