Handset companies launching their newest phones at MWC isn’t new but the technologies that go inside these phones are equally important, too. Especially, security on mobile devices is crucial to all. Thanks to Apple and its iPhone, we’ve seen the emergence of biometric security in mobile space. Now, Qualcomm, the company that powers majority of handsets, has demoed its own fingerprint authentication technology named Sense ID and it miles ahead of what we have right now.
After Apple acquired AuthenTec in 2012, which was the top fingerprint scanning system maker, other OEMs such as Samsung and HTC were left with no choice but to go with second best which resulted in not so good performance on devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy S5. For them, Qualcomm’s solution could provide enough power to rival Apple and its Touch ID.
Sense ID is quite interesting because of the way it works. It uses ultrasonic sound waves to generate the 3D model of your fingers as opposed to traditional capacitive touch based technologies like the one seen on Apple’s iPhone which create 2D model. The key advantage over capacitive touch technologies is that Qualcomm’s version can scan fingers through glass, aluminium, stainless steel, sapphire and plastic which highly increase its operability. In short, the phone makers who intent to use this technology will not have put the sensor on the exterior of the devices or cut hole like iPhone. Instead, they can simply put it under the chassis and it will still work. Hopefully, without any issues.
Since these sound waves can pass through other obstacles too such as sweat, condensation and even hand lotions so there will be lot more accuracy. This technology also makes it possible to detect fingerprint ridges and sweat pores, which is not possible with other current technologies. Qualcomm says the highly detailed 3D models created using its technology will be difficult (not impossible!) to spoof.
This technology is compatible with Qualcomm’s processors only so don’t expect it to see on other phones such as your beloved iPhone. Qualcomm says most major OEMs are experimenting with it and we will possibly see the devices later this year.
For those of you interested in more technical details, check out Qualcomm’s statement here.