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Apple introduced Touch ID, a fingerprint authentication technology for advanced security on smartphones with the iPhone 5s in 2013. Back then, it was widely regarded as a gimmick. In three years, it's become a standard not just on flagship devices but also on the affordable ones.
Earlier, fingerprint scanners were mostly used on business level laptops with normal consumers ignoring it for most of the part. But, with cyber crimes soaring on one hand and user's proclivity for storing sensitive information on smartphones is increasing on the other hand, fingerprint scanners have become a viable form of authentication.
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Moreover, with the introduction of digital wallets and mobile payment services, people have started taking biometric authentication technology more seriously. And, smartphone vendors are giving the maximum they can to cash in on the demand.
As a result, more number of devices started featuring a fingerprint scanner. Different companies use different technologies though the purpose remains the same. And one such technology is the Qualcomm Sense ID ultrasonic fingerprint scanner.
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Let's take a closer look at this technology and see how it's different from others and what kind of advantages it has over the existing fingerprint technologies.
What is Qualcomm Sense ID and its working?
Qualcomm Sense ID is a fingerprint technology for biometric authentication on smartphones. It is a new type of fingerprint identification technology which makes use of ultrasonic sound waves to offer enhanced security.
How does it work?
Like mentioned above, unlike the other fingerprint scanners which are based on capacitive or photographic sensitivity, the Sense ID technology uses ultrasonic waves to get a detailed map of your fingerprint. Therefore, you can simply place your finger on the sensor to unlock your smartphone.
The Qualcomm Sense ID technology uses a transmitter and a receiver to capture the details of a fingerprint. Whenever a finger is placed on the scanner, an ultrasonic pulse is transmitted against the finger. Some of this pulse is absorbed by the finger while some of it bounces back to the sensor based upon the unique details every fingerprint has including the ridges and pores.
These returning signals are received by a sensor that detects the mechanical stress and calculates the intensity at different points on the scanner which in turn will be used to either store the fingerprint data or match it with the already stored data.
The Qualcomm Sense ID technology can also create advanced and detailed 3D images of the fingerprint data which makes it more secure than the existing technologies that depend on 2D images since it is a bit difficult to forge comparatively.
Speaking of security, the Sense ID is built on the Qualcomm Biometric Integrated Circuit (QBIC), which communicates with the sensor hardware to get the fingerprint data. The IC can communicate with the Snapdragon SoC on your smartphone via software to provide the fingerprint data as and when needed. This way the fingerprint data is more secure.
Besides, the Qualcomm Sense ID also supports Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance protocols that are used for online password-less authentication. What this means is that all the fingerprint data remains on your smartphone without the fingerprint data being transferred to the cloud which may compromise its security.
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Advantages of Qualcomm Sense ID
Apart from being more secure in comparison to the other fingerprint scanner technologies, Qualcomm's Sense ID ultrasonic fingerprint scanner has a few more advantages.
For instance, the Sense ID is capable of working through glass, sapphire, and aluminum so it can be integrated on various places on the smartphone. Also, the Sense ID is designed to provide reliable authentication, so it will work even when your hands are sweaty or dirty.