Earlier this month, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Microsoft that reveals a unique feature for both a future Surface smartphone and tablet. Apple's iPhone has historically, until the iPhone 7, had a "slide to unlock" feature and with the iPhone 5 and 6 introduced 'Touch ID' for fingerprint authentication. Microsoft's new feature simply merged the two concepts into a single feature. The user will place their finger at the beginning of a slide to unlock feature and then slowly slide their finger to the right and by that time the device will be unlocked unless the user isn't the owner.
Microsoft's Patent Background
Many conventional devices, such as wireless phones and tablets, can be configured to display a lockscreen user interface when the device is in a locked state. To unlock the device, a user may enter a password or provide biometric input (e.g., a fingerprint) that can be used to verify the user's identity as an authorized user of the device. Conventional devices interpret biometric input as intent to authenticate and unlock the device. Doing so, however, enables just two device states, a locked state where access to the device is prevented, and an unlocked state in which access to the device is allowed.
The lockscreen can be used to provide many useful functionalities to the user and to enable quick access to personal information, such as text message notifications, social media updates, and meeting reminders. When the device is equipped with just a locked state and an unlocked state, however, the user must choose whether to allow some personal information and notifications to be visible on the lockscreen regardless of who is using the device, or to prevent the display of any personal information on the lockscreen which provides for a more private user experience but excludes many useful functionalities available on the lockscreen.
Microsoft's invention covers techniques and apparatuses for biometric gestures. In one or more implementations, a computing device includes a biometric sensor, such as a fingerprint touch sensor, that is configured to detect gesture input.
When gesture input is received from a user, the biometric sensor detects biometric characteristics (e.g., a fingerprint) of the user and determines a gesture (e.g., a tap, touch and hold, or swipe) based on the gesture input.
The user is authenticated if the biometric characteristics correspond to an authorized user of the device. If the user is authenticated, the device transitions to an authenticated user state that is associated with the type of gesture, such as by displaying personal information on a lockscreen of the computing device or opening a quick action center.
Microsoft further notes that the computing device may be configured with multiple different authenticated user states that are each mapped to a different gesture type. Doing so enables the user to quickly and easily navigate to different authenticated user states by providing gesture input to the biometric sensor. For example, the computing device can transition to a first authenticated user state if the gesture input corresponds to a first gesture type, transition to a second authenticated user state if the gesture input corresponds to a second gesture type, and so forth.
In one or more implementations, the computing device is configured to display a lockscreen while the computing device is in a locked state that prevents access to the computing device. In the locked state, the lockscreen does not display any personal information, such as text message notifications, social media updates, and meeting reminders. Currently when users authenticate using a biometric sensor, their touch is interrupted as an intent to authenticate and unlock the device. Thus, if the device is set to require authentication to display private information on the lockscreen, users will not be able to use this gesture as a mechanism to view their personal data or information since the gesture will also dismiss the lock screen.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 4 illustrates an example of transitioning to an authenticated user state by opening a quick action center; FIG. 5 illustrates an example method of initiating an authenticated user state.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 2 illustrates an overview of a system in which a controller initiates a transition from a locked state to an authenticated user state based on gesture input.
Microsoft only filed their patent application back in June 2015. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time. No Nokia engineers worked on this invention.
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