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Your next phone might have an under-display face unlock sensor

You wouldn't need a notch or fingerprint reader to securely sign in to your device.

Published onJanuary 26, 2021

  • Trinamix has unveiled a face unlock sensor that can hide under an OLED phone display.
  • Your phone won’t need a notch for secure and effective sign-ins.
  • The first devices using the technology should arrive in the first half of 2022.

You might not have to settle for a thick bezel or notch just to get secure face authentication. Trinamix has introduced a 3D face unlock sensor that can hide under an OLED phone display, making all-screen phones that much more practical without turning to fingerprint readers.

The company told Android Authority that its under-display face unlock system stands out through the use of data. In addition to capturing infrared light with a dot pattern, the technology uses “Beam Profile Analysis” to gauge the distance and material. It offers the “same level” of performance as conventional time-of-flight and structured light systems, according to Trinamix. The only major requirement is a display similar to those used for under-screen selfie cameras.

Read more: The best phones with in-display fingerprint scanners

The technology will be secure enough for mobile payments, and will even offer skin detection to be sure there’s a real person unlocking the phone instead of a photo or head mockup.

You’ll have to wait a while to find face unlock under the display. Trinamix hasn’t named customers, but phone makers are testing the system and could put it into shipping products by the first half of 2022. People attending Mobile World Congress Shanghai (yes, an in-person event) can see a live demo between February 23 and February 25.

As with under display selfie cams, there’s a real chance this face unlock method will involve some compromise, at least early on. It might also be a tougher sell if the pandemic still demands widespread mask use. Still, this hints at a future where you don’t have to choose between an uncluttered screen and hands-off unlocks.

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