Qualcomm goes ultrasonic with 3D fingerprint sensor for touchscreens
02 March 2015 12:12 GMT

The FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance-compliant sensor can scan through a smartphone cover that is made of glass, aluminum, stainless steel, sapphire or plastics.

Qualcomm Technologies has launched a bold assault on the biometric authentication market at the Mobile World Congress, with an ultrasound fingerprint sensor that can be easily integrated into touchscreens and which potentially offers smoother authentication than rivals.

Known as Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology, QT says the ultrasound reader is the mobile industry’s “first 3D fingerprint authentication technology”, adding that it is a step above capacitive fingerprint readers like the TouchID solution deployed in Apple’s iPhones.

“QTI’s offering is designed to provide enhanced authentication capabilities, usability and integration over legacy capacitive touch-based fingerprint technologies by utilizing technology developed for government-grade biometric solutions”.  

The FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance-compliant sensor can scan through a smartphone cover that is made of glass, aluminum, stainless steel, sapphire or plastics. Because it relies on sonar technology, it can also overcome the issue of contaminants that might be present on the finger, such as sweat, hand lotion and condensation, providing a more consistent and accurate method of authentication.

The ultrasonic-based solution uses sound waves to directly penetrate the outer layers of skin, detecting three-dimensional details and unique fingerprint characteristics, including fingerprint ridges and sweat pores that are not possible to detect with current capacitive touch-based fingerprint technologies.

“Mobile devices increasingly store our most valuable and sensitive information, while passwords alone do not provide the protection consumers deserve,” said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, QTI.

“Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology’s unique use of ultrasonic technology revolutionizes biometrics from 2D to 3D, allowing for greater accuracy, privacy and stronger authentication. We are very proud to bring the mobile industry’s first ultrasonic-based biometric authentication technology to mobile device manufacturers and their customers, who will benefit from the improved and differentiated user experience.”

QTI’s Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology consists of a Qualcomm biometric integrated circuit (QBIC), custom sensor technology, and algorithms managed by SecureMSM technology.

Note: Qualcomm Technologies is a Media Panel and Gold Sponsor at the connect:ID event in Washington D.C on 23-25 March.