Qualcomm reveals ultrasonic fingerprint scanning tech

Qualcomm has unveiled the first ultrasonic fingerprint scanning technology for smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The technology has the ability to actually penetrate the dermal layers of your fingers to identify the sweat glands and generate a highly detailed 3D map of the ridges of your fingerprints. The imaging technology builds up a more detailed and accurate picture of fingerprints than current capacitive touch sensors and is therefore much harder to fool.

Due to the ultrasonic nature of the technology, the sensors can be housed beneath plastic, metal and glass and continue to scan accurately through all of them. This will obviously allow manufacturers the ability to build in the technology without having to compromise on their chosen materials or design. It isn’t bothered by common contaminates like grease or lotion either, which will result in a higher authentication success rate.

The technology works with the biometric security protocol developed by the Fido Alliance, which is quickly being adopted by major banks and being built into software including the upcoming Windows 10 release. The aim of Fido has always been to find the most secure, long-term solution for replacing the password entirely.

When it lands on smartphones the protocol sits outside of Android and talks to Qualcomm’s biometric imaging technology through a dedicated channel, keeping the verification process totally secure. WIRED.co.uk witnessed a demo in which the technology was used to confirm the identification of someone for healthcare purposes, which allowed them to use their phone as a replacement to a healthcare card.

“Mobile devices increasingly store our most valuable and sensitive information, while passwords alone do not provide the protection consumers deserve,” said Qualcomm’s Raj Talluri. “Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology’s unique use of ultrasonic technology revolutionises biometrics from 2D to 3D, allowing for greater accuracy, privacy and stronger authentication.”

Qualcomm has introduced the technology alongside the Snapdragon 810 and 425 processors, but it has been designed to be compatible with all processors in the 800, 600 and 400 series. Most major phone manufacturers that work with Qualcomm chipsets are already sampling the technology in current prototypes, and it should start appearing in phones in the second half of 2015.

Source: Qualcomm reveals ultrasonic fingerprint scanning tech, Katie Collins ( http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-03/01/qualcomm-ultrasonic-fingerprint-scanning )

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