June 6, 2008 Consumers are increasingly attracted to the security and convenience offered by fingerprint scanners. Not only does it ensure the confidentiality of computer files, it's a silver bullet for the frustrated segment of the market that is running short on favorite sports teams and childhood pets to use as passwords. The latest example of fingerprint reading being brought to the broader consumer market comes UPEK, which has launched the TCS5 TouchStrip Fingerprint Sensor, a system that uses High Definition 3 Dimensional amplified sensing technology to read past the surface of skin to the “live layer”. The TCS5 is set to be included on 2009 Notebook PC models and is currently being demonstrated to select PC manufacturers at Computex Taipei.
“Live Layer” technology is something we’ve discussed on Gizmag before. Not only does it provide more accurate scanning, being able to penetrate through grease and dirt on the finger, but it allows the scanners to be housed behind greater protection. UPEK's HD3D technology is powerful enough to handle SteelCoat sensor coating, which the company claims makes the user interface six times more robust than competing swipe sensors. The hard epoxy coating is tested to withstand over 20 million swipes, and the sensor can operate in temperatures ranging from -30 degrees Celsius to 70 degrees Celsius (-22 to 158 F).
In addition to live layer sensing, the TCS5 uses Capacitive Sensing to measure feedback capacitance determined by the 3-D ridges and valleys of a fingerprint. The sensor is 144 pixels wide, and delivers a false accept rate of just 0.0007% at High Security Level. Each pixel has its own amplifier, transmitter and receiver, allowing greater sensitivity and crisper images. HD3D uses DC, AC, and differential AC modes of scanning, providing optimum performance in a variety of conditions.
The TCS5 uses UPEK’s Digital ID Hardware Engine to perform fingerprint template extraction, storage, and matching, in a secure environment. UPEK’s Protector Suite software allows uses to log in, access password-protected websites, launch applications, switch user accounts, and encrypt private files.
“PC manufacturers integrating fingerprint sensors into their laptops are shifting their focus from security in the enterprise to convenience for consumers,” said Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies. “Attach rates for fingerprint sensors in PCs are also rising as more value-added services are rolled out, such as support for online identity verification and one-time password authentication in the enterprise.”
UPEK fingerprint sensors have shipped in brands such as Dell, HP, Acer, Sony, IBM/Lenovo, Toshiba, Gateway, Asus and more.