Smartphone touchscreens may soon integrate fingerprint sensors
So far, if a company wants to integrate a fingerprint sensor onto a smartphone, it would have to be underneath the dedicated Home button or have its own sensor elsewhere on the device. Very few alternatives exist with the notable Xperia Z5 taking an interesting route by placing the fingerprint sensor on the edge of the smartphone. In the future, however, LG hopes to see a more elegant biometric authentication solution without any overt physical sensors on smartphones, tablets, or even laptops.
The South Korean company unveiled earlier this week a novel sensor prototype that can detect fingerprints over glass. The sensor would be glued under a layer of glass and would only add about 0.3 mm to its overall thickness. The advantages are obvious for a smartphone: The sensor itself receives protection from the layer of glass directly above it and smartphone designs will benefit from a cleaner chassis without discarding a fingerprint reader. This fits well with a rumor late last year about Apple dropping the traditional Home button without necessarily losing Touch ID.
LG emphasizes that the new fingerprint reader would perform just as quickly and reliably as traditional sensors. The False Acceptance Rate (FAR) is expected to be very low at just 0.002 percent. Synaptics unveiled at CES 2015 a similar idea where the fingerprint sensor can be integrated directly onto a notebook trackpad. Commercial devices with this functionality, however, have yet to appear in the market.