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Synaptics is unveiling its sensors for smartphones that can detect and authenticate your fingerprint through a millimeter of cover glass.

The Natural ID FS9100 optical fingerprint sensors are the first in a line of biometric authentication solutions for smartphones and tablets. San Jose, Calif.-based Synaptics said the product is capable of high-resolution scanning through cover glass and enables clean, button-free industrial designs.

Natural ID FS9100 optical fingerprint sensors are designed to be placed under the cover glass, including 2.5D glass, located in the front, bottom bezel of devices. Under cover glass biometrics eliminates button cut-outs and glass thinning processes required by capacitive under-glass sensors, leading to glass yield improvements. The company said the highly reliable FS9100 optical solution excels with wet finger performance, and, being protected by glass, is durable, scratch proof, waterproof, and eliminates electrostatic discharge concerns.

Unlike optical fingerprint sensors used for access control and public biometric identity verification, the advanced FS9100 sensor leverages unique Synaptics optical technology developed for mobile devices and breaks through key technical barriers with an extremely thin form factor and minimal power consumption, Synaptics said.

The FS9100 optical fingerprint sensors feature Synaptics’ SentryPoint technology, offering manufacturers a wide range of unique and highly secure authentication features, including Quantum Matcher with PurePrint, an anti-spoof technology.

“Synaptics’ FS9100 family of fingerprint sensors represent a new breed of optical fingerprint sensor technology that is designed to meet the needs of mobile devices, including the ability to image through thick 2.5D glass,” said Anthony Gioeli, vice president of marketing in the biometrics product division at Synaptics, in a statement. “In addition to opening the door to new industrial design options, it enables OEMs to provide highly durable, button-free cover glass and more easily provide water-resistant products, while eliminating low-yield glass processing.”

PurePrint examines fingerprint images using unique artificial intelligence technology to distinguish between fake and actual fingers.

“Optical sensing technology is very high performance and widely proven in other markets. The elimination of the smartphone home button is a critical next step to full top-to-bottom, edge-to-edge smartphone displays,” said Les Santiago, research director at market researcher IDC, in a statement. “Synaptics is a global leader in capacitive sensing technology with a track record of industry-leading security solutions, and adding optical to their portfolio bolsters their already impressive offering. With the widespread adoption of fingerprint sensors on flagship smartphones, and now on mainstream and entry-level phones, Synaptics is well-positioned to continue to lead in fingerprint biometric technologies.”

The sensors are expected to be in mass production in the second quarter. Synaptics also said it has a partnership with Shanghai-based OXi Technology, a developer of optical fingerprint technology. Synaptics has made a minority investment in OXi in a deal that will close in a few weeks.

“Synaptics’ strategic engagement with OXi is the company’s first move beyond capacitive technology and expands our innovative human interface portfolio into exciting new directions,” said Rick Bergman, president and CEO of Synaptics, in a statement. This innovation will allow the removal of the home button and enable cleaner industrial designs for smartphones. Our close partnership with OXi supports getting to market very quickly with new and advanced optical fingerprint solutions that are scheduled to sample soon, and advances our China presence and support network.”

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