As per a recent patent filing with the US Patent & Trademark Office, Apple is planning and working on adding an array of tiny lasers to upcoming iPhones and Apple Watches, which could have significant implications for smartphone development and overall security.
As per Apple’s patent, the tech giant is working with horizontal cavity surface-emitting lasers or HCSEL. The technology would essentially allow an array of HCSELs to be placed underneath the display to monitor biometrics and other environmental factors. There are plenty of other applications for HCSELs, and the potential for developers to explore the technology could result in a wave of new features on your iPhone and Apple Watch.
Such input and world reading options give developers more tools to work with. Irrespective of what Apple has in mind for using the HCSEL lasers, the new array of lasers will allow developers to come up with some exciting stuff.
Apple’s patent would suggest that its primary goal is to add enhanced security features. This means that there is a powerful possibility that we may see TouchID being reinstated on Apple’s devices in a much better way. The lasers could allow Apple to develop their system of under-the-display fingerprint scanners that would be much more reliable and secure.
The patent also claims that the new array of lasers could be used to monitor air quality. As a company based in California, where wildfires are a growing public health issue, Apple is no stranger to how air quality can affect your well-being. The ability to glance down at your Apple Watch and get up-to-date air quality data specific to your exact location (as opposed to generalized numbers from a third-party database) could be a staple feature in smartwatches moving forward as much of the western United States contends with inhospitable air conditions.
Apple’s patent could let its products alert you when the air you’re breathing is unhealthy and recommend you take your workout indoors. With air quality a rising concern of scientists and citizens, the feature is bound to get a lot of use.