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How Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Fingerprint Sensor Could Be A Great Tool In Covid-19 Era
Ever since Apple introduced the TouchID on its iPhone 5s, the whole smartphone industry jumped the wagon and OEMs started incorporating fingerprint scanners on their devices. Soon it turned into a race of unlocking the device faster. A couple of years later ultrasonic fingerprint sensors came into being, with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10, Note 10, and the Galaxy S20 making them mainstream.
However, the accuracy and responsiveness of these ultrasonic fingerprint sensors are still questioned by many users. Well, Qualcomm might be about to change that with its latest 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2. The new sensor is said to overcome all the hiccups faced by the previous-gen fingerprint scanners. And, with the coronavirus spreading across the globe, a good fingerprint scanner could be a great alternative to facial recognition which requires removal of the face mask.
How Is It Better?
The new 3D Sonic Sensor sports a 77% fingerprint are enabling it to capture 1.7 times more data than its predecessor. Besides, it makes the whole process of unlocking 50% faster. More importantly, users will not have to place their thumb very precisely for the sensor to identify their fingerprints.
The new sensor measures 0.2mm in thickness which will make it an ideal choice for flexible OLED displays used for foldable devices. Another welcomed change would the sensor's ability to identify the user's fingerprint even when their fingers are wet or greasy.
How Secure Is It?
To read the valleys and ridges of a finger, the new sensor uses sound waves. It transmits an ultrasonic pulse against the finger to create a 3D reproduction of the fingerprint. This process makes it distinct from other solutions that use the 2D light-sensing optical approach. Moreover, the sensor is capable of detecting blood flow within the finger, making it hack-proof from a photo of a mold.
Since the sensor is tough to hack, it can be great for contactless mobile payments, something that has become very important considering the social distancing norms. The sensor is compatible with MasterCard and KakaoPay, enabling users to make the payments just with their fingerprints.
Qualcomm says the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 is future-ready as well. Since it uses sound waves to detect blood flow, it can come in handy for healthcare purposes including monitoring heart rate, measuring BMI, and checking the blood sugar levels of a person.
When Will We See It?
Qualcomm believes the first smartphones to pack the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 will hit the market shelves in early 2021. Although the company didn't reveal any manufacturer's name, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is due for a January 14 launch. It wouldn't come as a surprise if Samsung opts for Qualcomm's latest biometric tech for its flagship given their history of collaborations. Other OEMs are also expected to follow soon after.
The latest sensor looks impressive on paper but its real-life performance remains to be seen. However, the timing of the launch is undoubtedly spot-on given the ongoing pandemic situation where masks have become mandatory which makes face recognition a hassle. So, a zippy and accurate fingerprint sensor on phones is what the world needs right now.