The push for improved security is opening the door for fingerprint sensors. Manufacturers are coming out with new techniques that address a wide range of applications, from doors to cell phones.
Chip and system developers are also expanding the range of sensing technologies. TBS North America, Inc. of Herndon, Va., is unveiling a new technique, the touchless sensor. Instead of requiring contact, which can distort the ridges on the finger, the Surround Imaging components use multi-camera imaging of the finger surface. This touchless technique provides resolution of up to 1000 dpi.
Fingerprint Cards AB of Gothenburg, Sweden, is unveiling standalone modules based on its capacitive sensors. The modules can be integrated into door locks, time clocks and other harsh environments. A protective coating minimizes wear on the chip, also giving it electrostatic discharge protection of 15 kVolts.
The latest part from Authentec Inc. of Melbourne, FL, is aimed at cell phones and other small products. The EntrePad 1510 is a compact part that sells for under $5 in large quantities. It measures 12 x 5 mm, fitting into a 40 contact ball grid array. It also captures data in short periods, people can swipe their finger at rates up to 500 mm per second.
Authentec sensors use radio frequency electric fields to develop an image of a subsurface layer of the finger skin, avoiding oils and other materials that reside on the surface.
Authentecís latest offering is small enough for use in cell phones.
These moves come amidst signs that fingerprint sensing is seeing solid growth in many regions. SuperCom Ltd. of Raanana, Israel, is shipping its Smart Disaster Site Management system to the City of Columbus, OH, which will use fingerprint sensing as part of its Homeland Security preparation program. Gemplus International S.A. of Luxembourg recently contracted with the Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, which will use Gemplus chips to store biometric data in passports. BIO-key International, Inc. of Wall, NJ, has teamed up with Key Ovation of Austin, TX, to form a joint venture, IdentiPHI LLC, which will focus on complete biometric systems. That partnership will use password management software from of Protocom of Canberra, Australia.