What you need to know

  • Apple has filed a patent for a biometric sensor built into a watch band.
  • The sensor could detect pattens in a user's skin.
  • The sensor may also look at patterns in the hair on your wrist.

Apple has explored biometrics with features like Touch ID and Face ID. Now, the company is exploring a new way to authenticate your identity with what could become known as "Wrist ID."

A patent uncovered by Patently Apple (via 9to5Mac) describes a biometric sensor that's built into a watch band designed for Apple Watch. Apparently, the wrist biometric sensor would "acquire skin texture pattern images" to authenticate a user's identity.

A wearable electronic device may include a device body and a device band coupled to the device body for securing the device to a wrist of a user. The wearable electronic device may also include a wrist biometric sensor carried by one of the device body and the device band. The wrist biometric sensor may include biometric sensing pixels. The wearable electronic device may also include a processor coupled to the wrist biometric sensor and configured to cooperate with the biometric sensing pixels to acquire skin texture pattern images from adjacent portions of the user's wrist, and perform at least one authentication function based upon the skin texture pattern images.

The patent goes on to say the wrist biometric sensor may also take into account the hair on a user's wrist for authentication. If the method works as Apple describes, authenticating your identity and making payments could be easier than ever, because all that's required is for you to wear the device.

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Patently Apple uncovered two other patents related to the Apple Watch, including a band with visual progess indicators and a band that self-tightens. Those two sound a little more far fetched than a band with biometrics, but it's tough to determine if any of these patents will even become reality.

Apple regularly files patents but doesn't always turn them into real products. For now, Apple users may have a new Apple Watch upgrade to look forward to this fall. We'll find out during Apple's September 10 presentation.

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