April 16, 2008 AuthenTec has announced a thin, durable, waterproof, and surface-mountable covering for its TruePrint biometric fingerprint sensors. Known as TouchStone, the thin casing triples the protective coating over the sensitive technology, shielding it from accidental scratching by coins, keys, pens and anything else you may find in your pocket.
Unlike fingerprint sensors that rely on optical, thermal, or DC capacitive technology, the TruePrint system uses small RF signals to detect the “live” layer of skin beneath the surface. Not only does this provide better image quality, it also allows the semiconductor-based sensors to be covered by a greater variety of protective coatings.
“TouchStone technology will help open up a host of new applications and products for AuthenTec fingerprint sensors, which are already used in millions of PCs, cell phones and other consumer electronics devices,” said Art Stewart, AuthenTec’s vice president of Wireless Products. “This breakthrough technology can be applied to existing mobile phones as well as a new generation of cell phones, Mobile Internet Devices, key fobs and other applications where previous fingerprint sensors were too thick or lacked adequate durability. TouchStone packaging technology has already been designed into new cell phones, the first of which will be introduced later this year.”
The first AuthenTec product available in TouchStone packaging will be the AES1711 low-power sensor for the wireless market, with production quantities expected in the fourth quarter.
The TruePrint sensors can withstand over 10 million rubs, and the sub-surface scanning technology can read past dirty, worn, calloused, or oily skin. The AuthenTec FAQ page also assures users that the TruePrint sensors are immune from more drastic threats, like someone making gelatin finger moulds, capturing your identical twin, or simply cutting off your finger.
AuthenTec fingerprint sensors are currently used in 150 different models of notebook and tablet PCs, and more than 95% of biometric cell phones. Fujitsu released the FOMA F1100, its first Windows Mobile phone to incorporate AuthenTec fingerprint sensors, in April of this year. The security of fingerprint identification combined with the convenience of mobile phones means we could be on the threshold of quick and secure mobile commerce. Hundreds of thousands of stores in Japan have already embraced m-commerce, and it looks set to catch on in Western countries.