Quite a few tipsters let us know about a patent spotted by the team @BBLeaks. They do not reference the patent itself and I cannot seem to find it on any of the patent search engines but it looks pretty solid. It seems to describe adding biometric fingerprint security to your BlackBerry. Even though portable devices have had fingerprint scanners for years it looks like RIM is planning on incorporating the scanner inside the touchpad. Now that would be pretty cool.
The patent specifically mentions the fact that the fingerprint reader will be inside a portion of the touch surface. They mention that even though touchpads usually have very low resolution they may use an “interpretive algorithm” to increase apparent resolution.
Not sure how this would all work technically but if RIM does implement it I hope they make it work fast. Even my Lenovo laptop with a fingerprint scanner takes a second or two to authenticate my fingerprint. Still it would be better than my friends password of “QWERTY” on his BlackBerry…
"An apparatus for input and fingerprint recognition comprises a touch surface, and a data processor coupled to the touch surface. The touch surface comprises a first region and a second region. The second region is distinct from and coplanar with the first region and occupies a minor portion of a total surface area of the touch surface. The data processor is configured to selectively operate the touch surface in a touch input mode or a fingerprint detection mode. In the touch input mode, the data processor is configured to operate the second region at a first resolution comparable to that of the first region to detect a touch input anywhere on the touch surface. In the fingerprint detection mode, the data processor is configured to operate the second region at a higher resolution than the first resolution to detect a fingerprint on the second region.
Touch pads are known techniques of computer input. A touch pad has a flat surface capable of producing a signal when the flat surface is touched with a finger.
Finger print recognition is a known technique of biometric systems, utilized for recognizing the identity of a person based on physiological characteristics.
Both techniques are typically not provided simultaneously in handheld electronic devices. Although touch pads and finger print devices are common, touch pads may have very low resolution, and may use an interpretive algorithm to increase the apparent resolution, whereas finger print devices may have very high resolution. The limited surface area of a handheld electronic device may exclude the use of both touch pads and fingerprint devices simultaneously."