Qualcomm’s bigger in-screen fingerprint sensor may critically enhance safety

That brings about quite a few advantages, however most essential of those is improved safety. Each optical and ultrasound fingerprint readers had a significant downside. Their comparatively small dimension made them far much less safe than the bigger ones that guard banks and entryways, for instance. In accordance with Gordon Thomas, senior director for product administration, current fingerprint sensors for cellular units (together with the present 3D Sonic) usually measure round 4mm x 9mm. That might solely detect a part of your finger.

A bigger sensor captures extra data and appears for extra indicators to determine you, and is inherently extra stringent. For instance, for those who’re a slice of a pizza, you may typically guess if it is Hawaiian or meat or vegetarian, however it takes evaluating the complete pie to know for certain. Full fingerprint authentication is just safer. “The police would by no means settle for partial prints,” Thomas informed Engadget.


The 3D Sonic Max scanner measures 20mm x 30mm for a 600 sq. millimeter space. This decreases the probabilities of fooling such a system enormously, and Thomas mentioned the corporate is aiming for a 1 in one million accuracy price. That is the identical stage of accuracy that Apple claims Face ID has.

Qualcomm 3D Sonic Max fingerprint scanner

That is not to say that you simply’re doomed for those who depend on your cellphone’s fingerprint scanner as we speak. The trade normal for business smartphones is 1 in 50,000, which is what Apple says Contact ID provides. Whereas it is nowhere close to acceptable by authorities requirements, it is typically ok. However for these of us who’re extra paranoid about defending our information, 3D Sonic Max is sweet information.


Qualcomm can also be enabling dual-fingerprint authentication with the bigger floor space, which implies the system will likely be on the lookout for two distinctive prints on the similar time. This can be utilized for conditions that require even tighter safety, like accessing your financial institution apps or delicate firm data, for instance.

The bigger scanner additionally provides just a few different conveniences. For one, you may register your fingerprint in your cellphone simply by tapping as soon as, as a substitute of repeatedly for about 16 to 20 occasions. With such a big goal space, too, you may extra simply signal into your system as a substitute of blindly jabbing your finger at a spot the place you assume the scanner is.

Thomas additionally mentioned that as a result of Qualcomm constructed its reader on thin-film-transistor (TFT), which has similarities to the fabric used for LCDs, it is in a position to hold prices low and preserve a small footprint. The sensor itself is simply zero.15mm skinny, so it would not reduce into area that will in any other case be dedicated to battery or end in a bigger cellphone. 3D Sonic Max will even be capable to make out the form of your finger and search for geometric indicators like the gap between the tip of your thumb to the center of it, and use these as extra layers of identification.

In comparison with the last-gen 3D Sonic, the Max carries out its ultrasonic identification (i.e. telling the distinction between pores and skin and different supplies primarily based on the sound waves) inside its hardware, as a substitute of getting to depend on algorithms and processing elsewhere on the system. That might theoretically additionally make it safer than earlier than by minimizing potential factors of vulnerability.

Qualcomm expects the 3D Sonic Max will present up commercially subsequent 12 months. Since Samsung used the 3D Sonic within the Galaxy S10 and Be aware 10+ flagships, it would not be shocking if the cellphone maker adopts this next-gen element in its upcoming telephones. For now, we simply have to attend for different firms and apps to undertake more-secure strategies of ID-ing us. The excellent news is, the 3D Sonic Max is certain to create some competitors within the cellular safety area, which ought to result in enhancements total.