Fingerprint Cards says it has developed in-display fingerprint sensor technology.
The news comes by way of a ‘Technology Update’ delivered in Stockholm today. Like in-display fingerprint sensor technology announced by Qualcomm earlier this year, FPC’s technology is ultrasonic, using sound waves to pass through a given device’s cover glass. It can also pass through other materials such as metal, allowing for other unique designs; and it can operate if a user’s finger is wet or even underwater.
Also important is the technology’s capability of scanning a finger from anywhere within a display, not just a specific scanning area. And FPC says it can operate with both LCD and OLED displays.
The company asserts that it started working on its in-display technology in late 2016, which puts the initial development around the time that FPC announced its pioneering under-glass sensor technology used in Huawei’s Mate 9 Porsche Design and Mate 9 Pro smartphones. That technology did not allow for in-display fingerprint scanning, but did point in that direction by putting the fingerprint sensor under the non-display cover glass of those devices.
In the ensuing months, both Goodix and Qualcomm announced that they had developed in-display fingerprint sensor technology, the latter having demonstrated its technology in a modified Vivo smartphone at this year’s Mobile World Congress Shanghai industry event. Meanwhile, Apple was widely thought to be working to adapt its Touch ID fingerprint sensor system into the display of at least one of this year’s new iPhones, but the company evidently failed in this effort and abandoned Touch ID on the iPhone X in favor of a new infrared facial recognition system. That has left the door open for other smartphone brands to pioneer in-display technology, with some now anticipating that Samsung could be among the first to market with a smartphone sporting such a feature.
As for FPC’s solution, in a statement outlining this week’s Technology Update, the company asserted that “[t]he validity of the technology has been demonstrated,” suggesting that it is in fact practicable. Offering further commentary, CEO Christian Fredrikson said he “can see many potential application areas” for the new in-display technology, but that the company’s “initial focus is of course the use in high-end smartphones.” To that end, FPC says it “is expecting to engage with key customers in the first half of 2018 to further develop the technology and to bring it to mass market.”