Synaptics Builds Fingerprint Sensors That Can Scan Through Display Glass

BY Evan Selleck

Published 13 Dec 2016

Synaptics has debuted a brand new methodology for smartphone manufacturers, and others, to implement fingerprint readers that can scan through glass.

Synaptics has officially debuted a new series of fingerprint sensors, under the product lineup Natural ID FS9100. The new fingerprint sensors can scan a fingerprint through 1mm of full cover glass. The company says that the new fingerprint sensors were designed specifically for front-facing fingerprint access –like we see in the iPhone lineup– and that it works with 2.5D glass as well.

The new sensors, with their placement under the glass, are also waterproof, and they respond without hesitation to wet fingers as well.

“”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”

As it stands right now, there’s no confirmation on when this technology will actually get put into use in consumer-ready smartphones or tablets, but it does at least confirm what the Rumor Mill has been suggesting for months now. Apple, and others, including Samsung, are said to be preparing smartphones as early as 2017 that use edge-to-edge displays and remove the physical home button altogether.

As far as Apple rumors go, it is expected that at least one of the variants released in 2017, probably the iPhone 8 proper, will remove the home button altogether. That could include a “virtual button” with an edge-to-edge display, for instance. It’s likely that, while Synaptics has a solution for this particular situation already in place, Apple will develop its own implementation for use in its upcoming iPhone.

And for what it’s worth, Qualcomm has similar technology already in place. It’s even in the Meizu Mi 5s, where its fingerprint sensor is already behind glass.

The iPhone 7 lineup already removed the button proper, so implementing an embedded option in a future product seems likely at this point. Do you think we’ll see it as early as next year?

[via MacRumors; Synaptics]