fingerprint remote

The US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published three patent applications from Apple relating to biometric input devices. As noted by AppleInsider, all the filings mention a device with a built-in fingerprint sensor that could be used in a future TV remote.

It’s not hard to imagine the biometric possibilities of a remote control for a TV or set-top box. The device would be able to identify users—paving the way for custom profiles, settings and parental controls—and could support multi-finger shortcuts and simple gestures.

Apple offers use-cases for a single user:

A system for configuring electronic devices multiple ways for a single user based on remotely received user biometrics, comprising: at least one remote control device, comprising: at least one sensor that detects at least one biometric; and at least one electronic device that is configured to receive at least one instruction from the at least one remote control device; wherein the at least one electronic device receives data associated with the at least one biometric, determines which profile of a user is associated with the data out of a plurality of profiles for the user, and configures the at least one electronic device according to the profile.  

And for multiple users:

A system for configuring electronic devices based on remotely received user biometrics, comprising: at least one remote control device, comprising: at least one sensor that detects at least one biometric; and at least one electronic device that is configured to receive at least one instruction from the at least one remote control device; wherein the at least one electronic device receives data associated with the at least one biometric, determines a profile that is associated with the data out of a plurality of possible profiles, and configures the at least one electronic device according to the profile. 

Since purchasing AuthenTec in 2012, Apple has showed an enormous interest in biometrics. Most iPhone and iPad models now feature built-in fingerprint sensors, and the company has filed a number of patents that show it’s working to take things to the next level.

As for its ambitions in the TV space, it’s widely believed that Apple is on the verge of unveiling a new set-top box with a redesigned remote. There hasn’t been any mention of a fingerprint sensor, but a New York Times report did say that it will feature a built-in touchpad.

Source: USPTO via AppleInsider