US 20110102569 A1
A fingerprint swipe sensor includes multiple fingerprint sensor lines disposed on a surface of an LCD covered on an opposite surface with motion sensing lines. The fingerprint swipe sensor also includes a controller coupled to the fingerprint sensor lines to capture a fingerprint image when a user's finger is swiped about the fingerprint sensor lines.
1. A fingerprint swipe sensor, comprising:
a plurality of fingerprint sensor lines disposed on a first surface of an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) covered on an opposite surface with motion sensing lines; and
a controller coupled to the fingerprint sensor lines to capture a fingerprint image when a user's finger is swiped about the fingerprint sensor lines.
2. A fingerprint swipe sensor according to
3. A fingerprint swipe sensor according to
4. A fingerprint swipe sensor according to
5. A Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen having a fingerprint swipe sensor, the LCD screen comprising:
an LCD module configured to produce a visible display;
a motion sensor circuit located on a first surface of the LCD module;
a protective layer located above the motion sensor circuit and configured to durably receive a user's finger surface;
fingerprint sensor lines disposed on a second surface of the LCD module, wherein the second surface of the LCD module is opposite the first surface of the LCD module; and
a controller coupled to the fingerprint sensor lines to capture a fingerprint image when a user's fingerprint is swiped about the sensor lines.
6. An LCD screen according to
7. An LCD screen according to
8. An LCD screen according to
9. An LCD screen according to
10. A method of assembling an LCD display device having motion circuitry and fingerprint sensor circuitry, the method comprising:
providing a printed circuit board;
mounting an LCD controller on the printed circuit board;
mounting an LCD module above the printed circuit board;
applying motion sensor circuitry onto a first side of the LCD module;
applying a mask layer onto the first side of the LCD module; and
applying fingerprint sensor circuitry on a second side of the LCD module, wherein the second side of the LCD module is opposite the first side of the LCD module.
11. A method according to
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The present application is a Continuation of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/914,812 filed on Oct. 28, 2010, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein. That application also claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/256,908, filed Oct. 30, 2009, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein.
Since its inception, fingerprint sensing technology has revolutionized identification and authentication processes. In most cases, a single fingerprint can be used to uniquely identify an individual in a manner that cannot be easily replicated or imitated. The ability to capture and store fingerprint image data in a digital file of minimal size has yielded immense benefits in fields such as law enforcement, forensics, and information security.
However, the widespread adoption of fingerprint sensing technology in a broad range of applications has faced a number of obstacles. Among these obstacles is the need for a separate and distinct apparatus for capturing a fingerprint image, which most consumer-grade computer systems do not contain. Incorporating a distinct component whose only function is to capture fingerprint image data into an otherwise multi-functional computer system is often not economical for consumers or computer manufacturers. Although low-cost fingerprint sensing devices do exist, consumers are often reluctant to purchase a separate accessory with such a limited application. Consequently, computer manufacturers typically do not incorporate such accessories as built-in components.
Additionally, such components are often impractical for use in systems that are designed to be of minimal size or weight. As handheld devices begin to take on a greater range of functionality and more widespread use, engineers and designers of such devices are constantly seeking ways to maximize sophistication and ease of use while minimizing size and cost. Typically, such devices only incorporate input/output components that are deemed to be essential to core functionality, e.g., a display screen, a keyboard, and a limited set of buttons.
For these reasons, fingerprint-based authentication techniques have not replaced username and password authentication in the most common information security applications such as email, online banking, and social networking. Paradoxically, the growing amount of sensitive information Internet users are entrusting to remote computer systems has intensified the need for authentication procedures that are more reliable than password-based techniques.
The advent and widespread adoption of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology provides an opportunity to address this need. LCD technology provides a low-cost and versatile means of incorporating both input and output functionality into a single discrete component. Touch-screen technology, which typically comprises a special layer within the LCD panel apparatus, enables system output to be displayed and user input to be taken on the same surface. LCD technology has replaced cathode ray tube (CRT) displays in virtually all computer systems due to its lower power consumption and physical space requirements. Additionally, the declining cost and increasing sophistication of LCD touch-screen displays have contributed to the growing popularity of handheld computing devices incorporating such displays.
An LCD display with built-in fingerprint sensing capability would thus lead to more widespread adoption of fingerprint-based authentication. However, one problem with simply integrating existing fingerprint sensing technology into LCD touch screens is hardware incompatibility. Most fingerprint sensors require a silicon circuit on which to mount the fingerprint sensing components, whether they are resistive, capacitive, thermal, or optical. Incorporating such a circuit into an LCD display would require significant and costly modifications to the design and production processes of such displays. However, a fingerprint sensing system comprising a mechanism and components that can easily be incorporated into existing LCD display structures addresses this problem.
As will be seen, the present invention provides such a system in an elegant manner.
Throughout the description, similar reference numbers may be used to identify similar elements.
The present invention is directed to a novel fingerprint sensor that can be integrated with an LCD display structure, such as being positioned on or adjacent the LCD glass. Additionally, one or more fingerprint sensing elements can optionally replace a touch-screen controller chip to provide a single chip solution that provides both touch-screen functions and fingerprint sensor functions.
In particular, the invention is directed to a device, system and method for incorporating a fingerprint sensor with a display screen, such as an LCD screen. The figures illustrate diagrammatic views of various examples of components configured according to the invention. These components, which include fingerprint sensor components and various subcomponents and structures for integration with an LCD screen or the like, are intended for incorporation into devices or systems. The invention would benefit these devices or systems by enabling them to provide fingerprint sensing capability.
Reference will be made herein to a fingerprint sensor and related circuitry that may be implemented on Kapton™ tape, a well known substrate for placing or printing electrical components thereon. Reference is made here of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/184,464, filed Jul. 19, 2005, entitled “Electronic Fingerprint Sensor with Differential Noise Cancellation,” and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/005,643, filed Dec. 5, 2001, entitled “Swiped Aperture Capacitive Fingerprint Sensing Systems and Methods.” This application also incorporates the following by reference: U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/689,107, filed Oct. 20, 2003, entitled “Swiped Aperture Capacitive Fingerprint Sensing Systems and Methods,” and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/107,682, filed Apr. 15, 2005, entitled “Fingerprint Position Sensing Methods and Apparatus.” This application also incorporates the following by reference: U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/080,322, filed May 15, 1998, entitled “Combined Fingerprint Acquisition and Control Device”, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/489,908, filed Jan. 24, 2000, entitled “Combined Fingerprint Acquisition and Control Device.” These references are commonly assigned with this application, where such a sensor configuration and design are detailed. All details of these applications and issued patents are herein incorporated by reference.
The embodiments discussed herein generally relate to an apparatus, system and methods for configuring fingerprint sensors and, in particular, for integrating fingerprint sensors into LCD circuits and displays. Referring to the figures, exemplary embodiments will be described. The exemplary embodiments of the invention are provided to illustrate the embodiments and should not be construed as limiting the scope of the embodiments.
In the following disclosure, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention may be practiced without such specific details. In other instances, well-known elements have been illustrated in schematic or block diagram form in order not to obscure the invention in unnecessary detail. Additionally, for the most part, details concerning network communications, data structures, and the like have been omitted inasmuch as such details are not considered necessary to obtain a complete understanding of the invention, and are considered to be within the understanding of persons of ordinary skill in the relevant art.
It is further noted that all functions described herein may be performed in either hardware or software, or a combination thereof, unless indicated otherwise. Certain terms are used throughout the following description and claims to refer to particular system components. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, components may be referred to by different names. This document does not intend to distinguish between components that differ in name, but not function. In the following discussion and in the claims, the terms “including”, “comprising”, and “incorporating” are used in an open-ended fashion, and thus should be interpreted to mean “including, but not limited to . . . ”. Also, the term “couple” or “couples” is intended to mean either an indirect or direct electrical or communicative connection. Thus, if a first device couples to a second device, that connection may be through a direct connection, or through an indirect connection via other devices and connections.
While certain exemplary embodiments have been described and shown in the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that such embodiments are merely illustrative of and not restrictive on the broad invention, and that this invention not be limited to the specific constructions and arrangements shown and described, since various other modifications may occur to those ordinarily skilled in the art. Accordingly, the specification and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.
Reference in the specification to “an embodiment,” “one embodiment,” “some embodiments,” or “other embodiments” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiments is included in at least some embodiments, but not necessarily all embodiments. The various appearances of “an embodiment,” “one embodiment,” or “some embodiments” are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiments. If the specification states a component, feature, structure, or characteristic “may”, “might”, or “could” be included, that particular component, feature, structure, or characteristic is not required to be included. If the specification or claim refers to “a” or “an” element, that does not mean there is only one of the element. If the specification or claims refer to “an additional” element, that does not preclude there being more than one of the additional element.
The apparatus and method include a method and apparatus for enabling the invention. Although this embodiment is described and illustrated in the context of devices, systems and related methods of capturing fingerprints, the scope of the invention extends to other applications where such functions are useful. Furthermore, while the foregoing description has been with reference to particular embodiments of the invention, it will be appreciated that these are only illustrative of the invention and that changes may be made to those embodiments without departing from the principles, the spirit and scope of the invention, the scope of which is defined by the appended claims, their equivalents, and also later submitted claims and their equivalents.
As described in the background, the integration of most fingerprint sensor designs with an LCD screen is problematic due to the difficulty of incorporating a silicon-based sensor into an LCD display structure. According to the invention, this problem is obviated with a novel design that allows the fingerprint sensor to be positioned on or adjacent the LCD screen, on a side opposite the touch screen circuitry. The invention works with current touch-screen and LCD manufacturing techniques, where fingerprint sensor conductive components may be positioned on as surface opposite the layers of the LCD components. The fingerprint sensor is functionally integrated with other LCD control circuits or components. This provides an LCD panel with the added functionality of a fingerprint sensor without disrupting the operation of the visual display components. In addition, current LCD manufacturing techniques can easily be adapted to produce an LCD panel designed and configured according to the invention.
Consistent with the foregoing, disclosed herein is a fingerprint swipe sensor, comprising a substrate having fingerprint sensor lines on one surface and configured to be integrated with (or disposed adjacent to) an LCD screen, and a controller communicating with the fingerprint sensor lines to capture a fingerprint image when a user's finger is swiped about the fingerprint sensor lines. In one embodiment, the substrate is mounted on a surface of an LCD screen opposite the touch screen circuitry. In another embodiment, the substrate is positioned adjacent to a surface of the LCD screen opposite the touch screen circuitry.
Also disclosed is an LCD screen having an integrated fingerprint swipe sensor, comprising an LCD surface configured to produce a visible display, a substrate having fingerprint sensor lines on one surface and configured to be integrated with (or disposed adjacent to) the LCD screen to allow the integrated fingerprint sensor lines to capture a fingerprint image, and a controller communicating with the fingerprint sensor lines to capture a fingerprint image when a user's fingerprint is swiped about the fingerprint sensor lines. In one embodiment, the controller may be further configured to control the visible display. In another embodiment, the LCD screen may further comprise an additional controller configured to control the visible display.
As will be seen, the invention provides a mechanism to integrate the fingerprint sensor in an LCD opposite the components that are conventionally used in assembling touch-screen layers on LCD displays, or directly onto the LCD display itself. The examples and embodiments described herein include illustrations and references to touch sensitive circuitry, both capacitive and resistive, and also refer to fingerprint sensor circuitry that may also be capacitive or resistive, but the invention is not limited to any particular configuration or underlying technology in these areas. The invention is only limited by the appended claims, claims presented in the future, and any equivalents.
In current touch screen designs, there typically exists an LCD printed circuit board (PCB) on which the touch screen circuitry is mounted, and a protective shield or coating is applied on top of the touch screen circuitry. The touch screen circuitry is connected with the LCD display on the LCD PCB (Printed Circuit Board) by one of two methods. In one method, the touch screen circuitry is first mounted on the LCD PCB, then the protective shield or coating is applied on top of the touch screen circuitry. In another method, the touch screen circuitry is applied onto the protective coating or shield, and then the resulting structure is mounted on the LCD PCB, with the touch screen circuitry mounted between the protective coating or shield and the LCD PCB. According to the invention, the substrate of the fingerprint sensor can be positioned on an opposite surface of the LCD with either of these methods.
In the following figures, several examples of devices or systems configured according to the invention are illustrated.
LCD panel 100 can be manufactured in a number of ways and, given this disclosure, one skilled in the art will find it feasible to design and produce such a device without undue experimentation. LCD panel 100 may be utilized in a variety of devices, such as a computing device, cellular phone, portable entertainment device, tablet device, and so forth.
A protective layer 306, which includes touch screen circuitry 308 on one side of the protective layer is applied to mask 304. Touch screen circuitry 308 may be applied to the entire protective layer 306, or applied to the portion of the protective layer that aligns with the viewable opening in mask 304. In conventional assemblies, touch screen circuitry 308 may be adhered to or otherwise placed on the bottom side of protective layer 306 prior to assembly, and then placed or otherwise mounted on top of LCD PCB 302 during final assembly. In other assembly methods, touch screen circuitry 308 may be assembled onto mask 304, then the next layer (protective layer 306) is placed on top of the LCD PCB having touch screen circuitry 308 and mask 304 already mounted thereon.
Fingerprint sensor 310 has a swiping area 312. In one embodiment, swiping area 312 is indicated on mask 304 by a swipe area marking 316. Since the bezel portion of mask 304 may visually obscure fingerprint sensor 310, swipe area marking 316 is provided on mask 304 to indicate the desired fingerprint swiping area to the user of assembly 300. In a particular implementation, swipe area marking 316 uses a color or other characteristic that distinguishes the swipe area marking from the bezel color (or mask color). For example, if the bezel color is black, swipe area marking 316 is a lighter color, such as white or silver. In the example of
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Sensing device 900 further includes a readout circuit 954 for reading analog output signals from sensor element 902 when it is subject to a fingerprint juxtaposed on a sensor surface 907. Readout circuit 954 includes an amplifier 956 configured to amplify the analog signal so that it can more accurately be read in subsequent operations. A low pass filter 958 is configured to filter out any noise from the analog signal so that the analog signal can be more efficiently processed. Readout circuit 954 further includes an analog to digital converter 960 that is configured to convert the output signal from sensor element 902 to a digital signal that indicates a series of logic 0's and 1's that define the sensing of the fingerprint features by the pixels or data contact points of sensor surface 907. Such signals may be separately received by the motion sensors and the fingerprint sensing surfaces, and may be read out and processed separately.
Readout circuit 954 may store the output signal in a storage 962, where fingerprint data 964 is stored and preserved, either temporarily until a processor 966 can process the signal, or for later use by the processor. Processor 966 includes an arithmetic unit 968 configured to process algorithms used for navigation of a cursor, and for reconstruction of fingerprints. Processing logic 970 is configured to process information and includes analog to digital converters, amplifiers, signal filters, logic gates (all not shown) and other logic utilized by a processor. A persistent memory 974 is used to store algorithms 976 and software applications 978 that are used by processor 966 for the various functions described above, and in more detail below. A system bus 980 is a data bus configured to enable communication among the various components contained in sensing device 900.
In assembly, there are various ways such a device can be configured. In one embodiment, a fingerprint sensor is provided that includes a flexible substrate having fingerprint sensor lines on one surface and configured to be integrated with an LCD screen. This allows for a device such as a laptop, cellular phone, touch-screen interface, or other personal device to have an integrated fingerprint sensor, saving space and simplifying the integrated design.
In another embodiment, the fingerprint sensor may be mounted on the LCD PCB separate from the touch screen circuitry. The touch screen circuitry may be mounted on the protective shield or coating. The resulting structure can then be mounted on the LCD PCB. This also provides an LCD screen with both touch screen circuitry and fingerprint sensor circuitry integrated therein.
In yet another embodiment, the substrate is obviated by the protective coating. The protective coating is configured to hold touch screen circuitry together with the fingerprint sensor lines mounted on the protective coating or shield. Here, the protective coating can be mounted on an LCD screen together with the touch screen circuitry and the fingerprint sensor lines. In yet another combination, the touch screen circuitry can be mounted directly on the LCD PCB, the fingerprint sensor lines mounted on the protective coating or shield, and the two resulting structures can be mounted together to produce an LCD display having both touch screen and fingerprint sensor functionality.
The resulting system is an LCD screen having an integrated fingerprint swipe sensor and, possibly, a touch screen. The LCD screen may have one or the other or both, depending on the application. The system includes an LCD surface configured to produce a visible display. On top of the LCD surface can be mounted touch screen circuitry that may include fingerprint sensor lines. Alternatively, a separate substrate holding the fingerprint sensor lines may be mounted on or below the touch screen circuitry. In either configuration, the resulting structure may be configured to be integrated with the LCD screen to allow the integrated fingerprint sensor lines to capture a fingerprint image without interfering with the visibility of the display or with the function of the touch screen operation.
The system further includes a controller communicating with the fingerprint sensor lines to capture a fingerprint image when a user's fingerprint is swiped about the fingerprint sensor lines. In one system, there may be separate controllers for both the LCD display and the fingerprint sensor, where the system includes an LCD controller configured to control the visible display separate from the fingerprint sensor operations. Alternatively, the same controller may also control both the visible display and the fingerprint sensor operations. The fingerprint sensor could also be patterned onto the top glass of the LCD display itself, and not onto the touch-screen layer.
The present invention may also involve a number of functions to be performed by a computer processor, such as a microprocessor. The microprocessor may be a specialized or dedicated microprocessor that is configured to perform particular tasks according to the invention, by executing machine-readable software code that defines the particular tasks embodied by the invention. The microprocessor may also be configured to operate and communicate with other devices such as direct memory access modules, memory storage devices, Internet related hardware, and other devices that relate to the transmission of data in accordance with the invention. The software code may be configured using software formats such as Java, C++, XML (Extensible Mark-up Language) and other languages that may be used to define functions that relate to operations of devices required to carry out the functional operations related to the invention. The code may be written in different forms and styles, many of which are known to those skilled in the art. Different code formats, code configurations, styles and forms of software programs and other means of configuring code to define the operations of a microprocessor in accordance with the invention will not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention.
Within the different types of devices, such as laptop or desktop computers, hand held devices with processors or processing logic, and also possibly computer servers or other devices that utilize the invention, there exist different types of memory devices for storing and retrieving information while performing functions according to the invention. Cache memory devices are often included in such computers for use by the central processing unit as a convenient storage location for information that is frequently stored and retrieved. Similarly, a persistent memory is also frequently used with such computers for maintaining information that is frequently retrieved by the central processing unit, but that is not often altered within the persistent memory, unlike the cache memory. Main memory is also usually included for storing and retrieving larger amounts of information such as data and software applications configured to perform functions according to the invention when executed by the central processing unit. These memory devices may be configured as random access memory (RAM), static random access memory (SRAM), dynamic random access memory (DRAM), flash memory, and other memory storage devices that may be accessed by a central processing unit to store and retrieve information. During data storage and retrieval operations, these memory devices are transformed to have different states, such as different electrical charges, different magnetic polarity, and the like. Thus, systems and methods configured according to the invention as described herein enable the physical transformation of these memory devices. Accordingly, the invention as described herein is directed to novel and useful systems and methods that, in one or more embodiments, are able to transform the memory device into a different state. The invention is not limited to any particular type of memory device, or any commonly used protocol for storing and retrieving information to and from these memory devices, respectively.
The term “machine-readable medium” should be taken to include a single medium or multiple media (e.g., a centralized or distributed database, and/or associated caches and servers) that store the one or more sets of instructions. The term “machine-readable medium” shall also be taken to include any medium that is capable of storing, encoding or carrying a set of instructions for execution by the machine and that causes the machine to perform any one or more of the methodologies of the invention. The machine-readable medium includes any mechanism that provides (i.e., stores and/or transmits) information in a form readable by a machine (e.g., a computer, PDA, cellular telephone, etc.). For example, a machine-readable medium includes memory (such as described above); magnetic disk storage media; optical storage media; flash memory devices; biological electrical, mechanical systems; electrical, optical, acoustical or other form of propagated signals (e.g., carrier waves, infrared signals, digital signals, etc.). The device or machine-readable medium may include a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS), nanotechnology devices, organic, holographic, solid-state memory device and/or a rotating magnetic or optical disk. The device or machine-readable medium may be distributed when partitions of instructions have been separated into different machines, such as across an interconnection of computers or as different virtual machines.
Embodiments of the systems and methods described herein facilitate integrated fingerprint sensing and display of information. Some embodiments are used in conjunction with one or more conventional fingerprint sensing systems and methods. For example, one embodiment is used as an improvement of existing fingerprint detection and/or sensing systems. Other embodiments are used in conjunction with one or more conventional display systems and methods. For example, one embodiment is used as an improvement of existing display devices.
Although the components and modules illustrated herein are shown and described in a particular arrangement, the arrangement of components and modules may be altered to sense fingerprint information or to display information in a different manner. In other embodiments, one or more additional components or modules may be added to the described systems, and one or more components or modules may be removed from the described systems. Alternate embodiments may combine two or more of the described components or modules into a single component or module.
Although specific embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated, the invention is not to be limited to the specific forms or arrangements of parts so described and illustrated. The scope of the invention is to be defined by the claims appended hereto and their equivalents.