Addressing a topic that has seen a rising amount of buzz across the biometrics industry, the company asserted that its smart card technology “is attracting considerable and growing interest,” adding that the smart cards market is now moving “into the next phase”, in which mass production of applicable fingerprint sensors will be required. FPC recently launched its first fingerprint sensor module specifically designed for smart cards, the T-Shape, and also joined a couple of industry alliances that should prove helpful in extending its reach into this market, and clearly plans for further smart card developments in the near term as it seeks to expand beyond its traditional mobile fingerprint sensor business.
Along those same lines, the company has also announced that its acquisition of iris scanning specialist Delta ID earlier this year has now borne fruit in the form of ActiveIRIS, FPC’s new touchless biometric recognition solution. That news arrives alongside an announcement that ActiveIRIS has been deployed together with an FPC fingerprint sensor in a new multimodal device from an unnamed Japanese OEM.
While these are significant developments, perhaps the biggest news of FPC’s Technology Update is its announcement that it has developed viable in-display fingerprint sensor technology. FPC had gestured in this direction about a year ago when its under-glass sensor technology emerged in new smartphones from Huawei, but as yet no one – not even Apple – has succeeded in bringing in-display fingerprint sensor technology to a commercially available mobile device. At this point, only Qualcomm has successfully demonstrated such technology, and like that solution, FPC’s is based on ultrasonic scanning, using acoustic signals to pass through glass or metal in order to retrieve a fingerprint image.
FPC says the technology can operate from anywhere in a given display, and that it works as well with LCD panels as it does with OLED panels. That functionality could prove appealing to a range of mobile partners, and while FPC pointed to the challenges of “achieving cost efficient volume production and a fair price level” associated with “[a]ll technology development projects”, the company indicated that it’s “expecting to engage with key customers in the first half of 2018” to collaborate on bringing this technology to market, according to a statement outlining its Technology Update.
News of these technological innovations comes soon after FPC issued a Q3 report depicting the substantial impact of Apple’s announcement of its Face ID facial recognition system for the iPhone X, a development that appears to have slowed down the mobile fingerprint sensor market as OEMs assess a potential industry shift. But FPC’s announcement of in-display technology, as well as multimodality via iris recognition, could help to reignite the mobile industry’s enthusiasm for fingerprint scanning, while its smart card developments point to potential lucrative new market opportunity.
November 1st, 2017 – by Alex Perala