New fingerprint sensor will check if you're alive

New fingerprint sensor will check if you're alive
As the strive for thinner bezels and elegant designs continues, new technologies are needed to keep the functionality of our smartphones.

One of the most talked about innovations this year is fingerprint sensors under the display.

Scientists at Ulsan National Insitute of Science and Technology in South Korea published a paper yesterday, explaining the inner workings of their transparent and flexible fingerprint sensor capable of detecting tactile pressure and skin temperature.

The way the researchers achieved the desirable transparency is using nanofibers and nanowires that form the electrodes needed to measure the tiny amount of electrical current that your finger generates. As the names suggest, the width of these wires is so small, they are practically invisible to the naked eye. Unlike the infamous carbon nanotubes, however, the ones used by the scientists are silver based.

Additional level of security is provided by the temperature sensor, meant to detect if the device is touched by a real finger or an inanimate object. The temperature threshold is set at min 30° and max 45°C (86° and 113°F) and we can't help but imagine people furiously rubbing their hands during a blizzard, trying to unlock their phone.

Surely, creative wrongdoers will find a way to trick this sensor as well, but if someone is going through that much trouble to get into your device, you probably need more than consumer grade security.

Potentially, this technology will allow manufacturers to extend the sensor to cover a large portion of the display, if not all of it, so you can unlock your device just by grabbing it.

While smartphones with fingerprint sensors under the display already exist in the market (the Vivo NEX for example), they mostly rely on optical sensors which illuminate your finger through the display to make a reading. They are less reliable and secure than capacitive sensors, meaning that similar solutions to this are likely to be widely adopted by manufacturers. The research paper states that the precision of the sensor was enough to satisfy the FBI's standards for fingerprint extraction, which for most people should be more than enough.

As with all cool things we read about in research papers, it will take some time for us to experience it ourselves, but with a consumer demand that high, we expect it be sooner rather than later.



source: Nature.com via Cnet

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13 Comments

1. SamsungNewbie

Posts: 143; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

Well, Apple removed theirs. How on earth are Apple fans supposed to know if they’re alive or not now.

4. NateDiaz

Posts: 1075; Member since: Mar 03, 2018

Every iPhone has this thing already. TouchID won't let you in if you're dead. https://www.engadget.com/2013/09/16/why-a-disembodied-finger-cant-be-used-to-unlock-the-touch-id-se/

5. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5465; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

You're partial wrong there. There is a difference between a disembodied finger and a finger on a dead person. The small metal ring around fingerprint sensors (which every smartphone uses) is used to run a small electrical current through the finger which turns on the sensor. A disembodied finger or a finger from a person that has been dead for a longer period doesn't conduct electricity. But if the person just died, it will still work. So there is a difference there.

6. NateDiaz

Posts: 1075; Member since: Mar 03, 2018

"The small metal ring around fingerprint sensors (which every smartphone uses)..." No not every smartphone, infact no other smartphone. The article ain't entirely about a disembodied finger. If your heart's running, electric current flows through the body and you can unlock your phone. If it stops running you'd have few minutes to unlock, as article says, before current stops flowing.

7. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5465; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

Some use a metal ring (or oval depending on the sensor shape), others just use a capacitive sensor that measure electric conductivity. But all use the same principle. Apple is NOT unique in this. Also, capacitive sensors can be fooled (like those gloves that work on a touchscreen).

8. NateDiaz

Posts: 1075; Member since: Mar 03, 2018

I never said phones don't use metal/chrome ring or capacitive sensor. Capacitive sensors are being used in every phone now-a-days, work on the principal of storing electric current to retrieve fingerprint data. It's radio frequency waves that other sensors lack that helps detect if a finger is dead or not.

9. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5465; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

You quoted my sentence about the small metal ring and then say the others don't use that. The ring is for capacitive sensing, not RF. RF waves were mostly used for accuracy and they stopped using it after the 5s. But you are right, that one is more accurate for determining living tissue http://www.ubergizmo.com/articles/fingerprint-scanners-how-they-work/

2. Cat97

Posts: 1608; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Sorry, but I already know that I'm alive. :)

3. KingSam

Posts: 1284; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Woosh.

10. tyger11

Posts: 279; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Cops are gonna hate this. :)

11. worldpeace

Posts: 3034; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Submerge that finger in a cup of hot coffee for a few second, wipe it, unlock the phone, and enjoy the coffee...

12. worldpeace

Posts: 3034; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

What about, combining FPscanner with HRsensor?

13. Karriope

Posts: 148; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

that would probably be significantly slower since people's hearts usually dont beat fast enough to provide an instant readout.

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