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In-display Fingerprint Technology

In-display Fingerprint Technology? What is the concept behind this? How does it work? What is the magic behind this? If you are searching the answers to all these questions, then you are at the right place. Let’s start to decode this mystery.

Technology is an everchanging criteria and the change is mostly in terms of advancements and not degradation. When talking about security and protection in mobile phones, we have moved a larger distance from pattern and PIN locks to passwords and Face ID, retina scan and fingerprint sensors. There has been a major shift in this process recently with the introduction of in display fingerprint sensors. Let us check what ‘In-display Fingerprint Technology’ is all about.

In-display fingerprint Technology” can be widely found in an increasing number of phones including Samsung Galaxy S10 series, Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro, OnePlus 6T and many more. Vivo, Huawei, and Oppo/OnePlus were perhaps the first organisation to introduce the in-display fingerprint in the handset market.

Fingerprint sensors have proved to be one of the securest forms of biometric authentication on smartphones. This was first launched by Apple in the iPhone 5S. After this, many handset firms introduced smartphones with fingerprint readers in either rear or front. In 2018, Chinese smartphone manufacturers intended to take the fingerprint reader to a notch higher. In January, Chinese OEM Vivo introduced its first handset with fingerprint sensor embedded / fused into its display. This was claimed to as the in-display fingerprint. Vivo launched this technology in its Vivo X21 and it has been the talk of the town since then with many other phones such as Xiaomi Mi8 to introduce the same in the market.

How does the in-screen fingerprint sensors work?

The in-screen fingerprint technology uses optical fingerprint sensor to capture fingerprint data. These sensors are embedded under phone screen. Vivo had designed ClearID FS9500 in partnership with Synaptics. This helped them in enabling this feature. The in-display fingerprint is supported only in OLED and AMOLED displays.

The Mystery behind its working.

The in-screen fingerprint sensors have a very simple working. It uses optical fingerprint readers fused into the display of the handset. It captures reflected light of fingerprint through theOLED pixels. On touching the screen, the display light glows up. This allows the optical sensor to capture a high-resolution scan of the fingerprint through the lights reflected through the valleys and ridges that create gaps between the pixels.

For correct readings, we need to slightly press the finger against the screen by the optical sensor to allow it to differentiate between ridges and valleys of the fingerprint.

Advantages of the In-display Fingerprint Technology

  • Easily accessible: The rear end fingerprint sensors were difficult to access when the smartphones were kept on the desk or into a car mount. All these disadvantages were overcome using the in-display fingerprint technology.
  • Thin Sensors: It is being claimed that the optical sensors used for detection are extremely thin and these does not add any bulkiness to the phones.
  • Finger conditions does not matter: In-display fingerprint sensors can read the fingerprints even if the hands are wet, dry or cold. This was not possible with the regular scanners.

Disadvantages:

  • These are not as fast as normal fingerprint sensors.
  • Tempered glasses might lead to the delayed response/ inaccurate capture of the fingerprint of the sensors.

About Deepak Thakur

Hi, I am Deepak Thakur and I am a Software Engineer with a keen interest in latest and upcoming technologies.

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