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Check Out Indisplay Fingerprint Sensor: the Feature Taking Over Smartphones

Fingerprint sensors have been great since we first got them on our devices as they have proven themselves to be a great security feature. Since the Apple iPhone 5 first introduced the feature, many devices have followed suit and over the years they have undergone different tweaking to get them efficient and impressive.


Then came the issue of more screen and bezels. The fingerprint scanner which was initially placed at the bottom bezel on the front of the phone had to be moved to the back (some rugged devices even put them at the side of the phone) to create more space for increased display giving us more screen to body ratio. The bezels which also offer some kind of protection too is also being sacrificed as the smartphone makers begin the race to be the first to deliver a 100% screen to body ratio smartphone.

Selfie cameras have also suffered too as they have been move elsewhere with Oppo and Vivo bringing in the pop-up mechanism which hides the camera. Now, the need to be innovative and prove that the evolution of smartphones is very much in place, the in-display fingerprint sensor has made an appearance.

In-display sensor places the fingerprint reader underneath the screen (for now it is placed where the thumb can reach it) instead of the back of the phone thus creating more space for display without sacrificing the biometric feature.

How It Works?

The optical fingerprint reader is placed underneath the smartphone’s screen (others are placed under the glass) where it is easily accessible. When pulling your phone from your pocket or attempting to use your phone, the screen lights up and showing you the fingerprint indicator where you can place your finger to unlock the device.

Fingerprint unlock
Image Courtesy: The Verge

Vivo is one of the pioneers of the in display fingerprint. According to WCCFTECH,

“Synaptics and Vivo have this long-term partnership that enabled the making of the Clear ID FS9500, which is an optical sensor that can be placed beneath the display of the smartphone. In short, it is an optical sensor, or a CMOS sensor, the kind that you find in regular or smartphone cameras.”


in glass fingerprint CMOS sensor
in glass fingerprint CMOS sensor

In order for the sensor to work, there are requirements that must be met. The display on the smartphone needs to be an OLED panel. Meaning only devices with OLED screen panels will enjoy this feature for now, which places Samsung in a key position to incorporate this feature in their devices next year.


Pros and Cons

The sensor uses an optical biometric reader to read prints thus making it slower than its Capacitative counterpart, but it works with greasy and wet hands (according to some sources), something the capacitative reader lacks.

Also, it is relatively new so there may be some issues that are yet to be noticed. Hopes are high as people believe very soon that the whole screen can be made into a fingerprint reader and the optical speed can be optimised once more Smartphones giants like Samsung and Apple start adopting the feature.

Ini Laurence
Simple, Always Curious.


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