Synaptics develops in-display fingerprint sensors

Synaptics has developed in-display fingerprint sensors [Image: Georgijevic via iStock]

Synaptics has announced the mass production of its new Clear ID optical in-display fingerprint sensors.

The company will be working with Vivo to produce the first devices featuring the technology.

Designed for smartphones with infinity displays – such as Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Note 8 and Apple’s iPhone X – the fingerprint sensors are activated only when needed. Synaptics said its Clear ID system is faster than the current standard of biometrics, including 3D facial recognition.

It added that Clear ID is also convenient and highly secure, featuring SentryPoint technology, as it offers “one-touch/one-step biometric authentication directly in the touchscreen display area of smartphones”. The technology will allow manufacturers to develop devices without bezels but with the convenience of a fingerprint sensor on the front, which most devices are no longer offering.

Synaptics said its sensor works with wet, dry and cold fingers, and as it is protected by glass, it is durable, scratch-proof and waterproof. It said the Clear ID performance is twice as fast as 3D facial recognition and requires only one touch to unlock a smartphone.

Kevin Barber, senior vice president and general manager of the mobile division at Synaptics, said: “Consumers prefer fingerprint authentication on the front of the phone, and with the industry quickly shifting to bezel-free OLED infinity displays, the natural placement of the fingerprint sensor is in the display itself.

“Synaptics’ Clear ID fingerprint sensors are faster, more convenient, and more secure than alternative biometrics, and this optical technology represents a major innovation shift and opportunity for the smartphone market.”

Patrick Moorhead, writing for Forbes, said that when he tested the new technology, he found it “fast and simple”. He explained that when he pressed the right side button to wake the device, a fingerprint image illuminated at the bottom of the phone. When he touched it, it let him into the device.

He added that he expects Vivo to modify the experience, so it will become necessary just to “hold to wake” so pressing the button will not even be required.