Synaptics Creating In-Display Fingerprint Sensors for ‘Top Five OEM’

Synaptics today announced that it has begun mass production of its Clear ID FS9500 optical in-display fingerprint sensors in partnership with a "top five" manufacturer, suggesting at least one major smartphone brand will sport in-display fingerprint sensing technology in the future.

Synaptics has been working on fingerprint sensors capable of reading a fingerprint through display glass for some time now, and its first product, the Clear ID-FS9100, was announced back in late 2016.


The updated Clear ID-FS9500 fingerprint sensors are designed specifically for smartphones with button-free bezel-free "infinity displays" much like the iPhone X or the Samsung Galaxy S8. Synaptics says its fingerprint sensors "magically activate" in the display when necessary, and the company believes its solution is "twice as fast as 3D facial recognition."


The Synaptics fingerprint sensor works well with wet, dry, and cold fingers, and because it's located under the display glass, the sensor is scratch proof and waterproof. In response to facial recognition, which can fail at certain angles, Synaptics points out that its fingerprint solution works when a device is "sitting on the table, at any angle, or while in a car mount."


Synaptics did not specify which smartphone manufacturer it is working with beyond naming a "top five" OEM, so the company's partner is a mystery. While Synaptics is a known Apple supplier that has provided Apple with display components in the past, it's likely Synaptics is referring to an Android manufacturer. Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei are all possible partners.

Apple uses its own in-house solution for Touch ID, and it's not yet entirely clear at this point if Apple plans to continue using fingerprint recognition as a biometric authentication method in its devices. Touch ID has been replaced by Face ID in the iPhone X, and rumors suggest Face ID will be the dedicated biometric authentication method in the 2018 iPhones. We're also hearing rumors suggesting Face ID will come to other devices in 2018, like the iPad Pro.

In a September interview, Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi said Face ID is the future of biometric authentication, and other Apple executives have made similar comments. For those who hold out hope that Apple will continue to use Touch ID in some capacity, however, Federighi did also say that there are certain situations where different biometric techniques or combinations of biometrics could make sense.

Ahead of the release of the iPhone X, rumors indicated Apple was planning to put Touch ID under the display of the iPhone X, with Face ID selected as the fallback option when it did not work out, but Apple executives have since said those rumors were false. Under-display Touch ID was not considered as Apple worked on developing Face ID, and it's not clear if Apple will continue to pursue Touch ID development with Face ID now available.


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Synaptics Announces All-In-One Fingerprint and Facial Recognition System for Mobile Devices

Ahead of CES 2017, Synaptics today announced a new multi-factor biometric engine for use in smartphones, tablets, and notebook PCs. The new platform, made in partnership with facial recognition company KeyLemon, incorporates both fingerprint and facial recognition, allowing a mobile device to be unlocked in multiple ways depending on what's most convenient for the user.

The system also provides additional security for financial transactions and the unlocking of other sensitive information, as two modes of authentication can be required.

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The Synaptics multi-factor fusion engine combines authentication scores from multiple biometrics to determine verification. This increases overall system security as both fingerprint and facial factors have to meet minimum threshold requirements before authentication. In addition, the fusion engine improves usability as lower individual verification thresholds still result in greater security.
The multi-factor fusion engine features anti-spoof technology, using AI to distinguish between fake and actual fingers. The facial recognition feature in the platform also checks for eye blinking and head movement to prevent spoofing. While Synaptics is focusing on finger and facial recognition at the moment, Synaptics VP of marketing Anthony Gioeli says future iterations will include "additional biometric and security factors."

Synaptics also recently introduced fingerprint sensors capable of scanning a fingerprint through glass, allowing for button-free display designs able to take advantage of fingerprint recognition functionality.

Apple is working on a similar technology for the iPhone 8, but while Synaptics is an Apple supplier, Apple likely has its own proprietary solution in the works.

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Synaptics Debuts New Fingerprint Sensors Capable of Scanning Through Display Glass

Amid rumors suggesting Apple plans to debut a 2017 iPhone with an edge-to-edge display with built-in Touch ID, Synaptics has announced its own under-glass fingerprint detection solution, debuting a new line of Natural ID FS9100 optical fingerprint sensors.

The FS9100 sensors are capable of scanning a fingerprint through 1mm of full cover glass, allowing for button-free display designs that are still able to take advantage of fingerprint recognition functionality.

According to Synaptics, the sensors have been specifically designed for placement under cover glass, including 2.5D glass, located in the front, bottom bezel of smartphones and tablets.

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The FS9100 sensors eliminate the need for cutouts on the display of a device, and because they're under glass, they're scratchproof, waterproof, and respond well to wet fingers. Wet finger performance is something that causes most fingerprint sensors, including Apple's, to fail.

Synaptics says its sensors are also designed to be thin and consume a minimal amount of power, while also using AI to distinguish between fake and actual fingers.
"Synaptics' FS9100 family of fingerprint sensors represent a new breed of optical fingerprint sensor technology that is designed to meet the needs of mobile devices, including the ability to image through thick 2.5D glass. In addition to opening the door to new industrial design options, it enables OEMs to provide highly durable, button-free cover glass and more easily provide water resistant products while eliminating low yield glass processing." - Synaptics VP of marketing Anthony Gioeli
Apple likely has its own proprietary solution in the works for the display of the 2017 iPhone 8 because it has been in development for some time and is said to have in-house engineers working on the product, but Synaptics is a known Apple supplier and provided Apple with LCD display drivers in 2015 following its acquisition of Renesas SP Drivers, a chip company Synaptics purchased in 2014.

If the rumors are true, Apple's iPhone 8 will include a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, a camera, and other components that are located behind the display of the device, entirely eliminating the existing home button and allowing for an iPhone that looks like a single piece of glass.

Other rumors for the iPhone 8 suggest it will include a glass body, an OLED display, a faster A11 processor, and wireless charging functionality.

Synaptics' optical fingerprint sensors are scheduled to begin sampling during the first quarter of 2017, with production to begin in the second quarter of the year.

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