The integration of biometrics sensors in laptop applications seems to be growing at a steady pace, with Google recently revealing it is working with Antmicro on a “Human Presence Sensor” for upcoming Chromebooks. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published a new Apple patent describing a portable electronic device with an integrated bio-sensor, and Dell announces the launch of three new laptops featuring biometric sensors made by Fingerprint Cards (FPC).
Google and Antmicro to work on Chromebook ‘Human Presence Sensor’
The new biometric technology could potentially be used to introduce face unlock on Chromebooks.
Google first teased the use of sensor technologies for Chromebooks earlier this year, but now a new snippet of code spotted by 9to5Google would seem to confirm the development of what the company calls an HPS (Human Presence Sensor).
For current applications, human presence detection is utilized by Microsoft on Windows 10 and 11 machines to improve Windows Hello’s facial recognition capabilities.
Chromebooks have so far not featured any type of face biometric unlock, so the presence of an HPS in their hardware still raises some questions.
Still, it is a hint Google is experimenting with the technology, and whether it will be used to assist face biometrics, or simply keep the screen awake when a user is in front of it, future developments will be interesting to follow.
USPTO publishes Apple ‘integrated bio-sensor’ patent
Published on September 7, the new patent describes an electronic device (likely a MacBook) that integrates a bio-sensor into the palm rest area and may feature a glass top layer.
The bio-sensor would determine different health and biometric metrics by detecting the light that is reflected off the body part of a user, including heart rate, blood pressure, blood perfusion and water content.
Much like Google’s HPS, the novel Apple technology would also be capable of determining the proximity of the user’s hand with respect to the device, and use the information to perform specific functions.
As far as the actual technology behind the bio-sensor, Apple said it may include a variety of different light sources, both to transmit and receive the light.
These may include a light-emitting diode (LED), a micro-LED, an organic light-emitting diode (OLED), and other types of light sources.
FPC fingerprint biometrics unveiled in new Dell laptops
The company made the announcement on Twitter earlier in the week, confirming the Dell Latitude 5320, Latitude 5420, and Latitude 5421 will feature FPC’s fingerprint biometrics.
The move takes the total number of PCs, Chromebooks and peripherals integrating biometrics by FPC to 26.
The three new laptops by Dell include FPC’s fingerprint reader in the power button, as well as an IR camera supporting Windows Hello face biometrics.
For context, FPC’s fingerprint biometrics sensors support different designs and placements and have been installed in other laptop devices, for example, on the side, in the touchpad, and in the palm rest.