MWC 2015 – Qualcomm Looks To Kill Off The Password With Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanning

Having to remember passwords and PIN codes could soon be a thing of the past following the announcement of a new biometric scanning technology by US chipmaker Qualcomm.

The company is looking to compete with Apple’s TouchID and Samsung’s fingerprint scanning technology with the launch of Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The new technology means more mobile users than ever before can skip entering passwords and use a simple fingerprint scan to unlock and access their devices.

Quick scan

What sets Qualcomm’s offering apart is that Sense ID is the mobile industry’s first 3D fingerprint authentication service based on ultrasonic technology.

This means it can create three-dimensional scans of a fingerprint thanks to ultrasonic waves that penetrate the initial outer layer of skin, resulting in highly detailed scans which can detect unique fingerprint characteristics such as fingerprint ridges and sweat pores that current capacitive touch-based fingerprint technologies just cannot find, creating a scan which is extremely difficult to imitiate.

The technology is also able to scan through phone covers made of materials such as glass, aluminium or plastics, which current scanning technology often struggles with, as well as getting past fingers contaminated with sweat, condensation or even simple toiletries such as moisturiser, which can often throw scanners off.

Qualcomm expects Sense ID to begin appearing in devices powered by the Snapdragon 810 and Snapdragon 425 processors (which includes both the HTC One M9 and Sony Xperia Z4) later this year,  before eventually appearing all Snapdragon 400 series, 600 series and 800 series processors.

“Mobile devices increasingly store our most valuable and sensitive information, while passwords alone do not provide the protection consumers deserve,” said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, QTI.

“Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology’s unique use of ultrasonic technology revolutionises biometrics from 2D to 3D, allowing for greater accuracy, privacy and stronger authentication. We are very proud to bring the mobile industry’s first ultrasonic-based biometric authentication technology to mobile device manufacturers and their customers, who will benefit from the improved and differentiated user experience.”

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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