Microsoft patent could bring fingerprint sensor to the Windows key

It looks like Microsoft may have its sights set on your keyboard's Windows key for fingerprint sensors on future keyboards. That's according to a patent published on March 7 (via Windows United), which integrates a fingerprint sensor within the Windows key.

Currently, fingerprint sensors in laptops are mostly either integrated in power buttons or appear as discrete sensors on a laptop's body. Microsoft's patent would allow sensors to be combined with existing keys on the keyboard.

Windows Hello has been an integral part of Microsoft's vision for PCs, with the company setting its sights on eventually using the tech as part of a play to eliminate passwords altogether. A portion of that strategy involves infrared cameras that can be used for facial recognition, but fingerprint sensors are also an important avenue to achieve the same goal.

As with all patents, there's a chance this may never see the light of day. However, it's not hard to imagine a future Surface (opens in new tab) device with a dedicated fingerprint sensor included in the keyboard alongside Windows Hello facial recognition.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Is this different from the fingerprint key already on the Microsoft Modern Keyboard? It looks like a regular key on the keyboard.
  • This looks like the patent to realize that button, while at the same time stating it will move from a discreet button to combine with the Start button.
  • I like this.
  • This seems like a ridiculous patent. How about a more generic patent to add fingerprint sensor to existing key. Or do they have to create a patent for each specific key. I think I will patent the APPLE key.
  • Sure, you can submit a patent like "sensor under ALL keys", but it won't pass.
    A patent like "sensor under Win key" has a slightly higher chance.
    A patent like "fingerprint sensor under Win key" has a higher chance.
    The more specific, the higher chance you can get a patent.
    * Windows key is a Windows OS only key. Nintendo has a VR analog patent, you can avoid it, if your VR analog circle ISN'T DIRECTLY below your finger.
  • A key is a simple thing they can last for years, so MS will add something to it that may go wrong in a couple of years, anyway, i would not use it if my laptop had one.