Synaptics’ new fingerprint sensors come in all shapes and sizes

synaptics fs4600 biometrics
The name Synaptics may not ring a bell, but you’ve likely encountered the San Jose, California-based company’s products before. The firm is responsible for some of the more novel touch-sensitive technologies around, including a capacitive spacebar with pinch-to-zoom and a fingerprint sensor that works with wet fingers. The company’s latest creation — the FS4600  — is in keeping with that philosophy of innovation.

The FS4600 is a versatile lineup of fingerprint sensors. The new sensors come in square, round, pill, and slim rectangular shapes that fit on the front, back, and side of devices. On Android devices, up to two soft buttons can be used as navigation keys, and a “fast swipe” navigation feature is supported natively. Force measurement — akin to Apple’s 3D Touch — enables “consumer-specific applications.” And an encrypted fingerprint sensor offers super-secure 256-bit AES encryption with TLS 1.2.

The fingerprint sensors can be coated with polymers, ceramics, or glass, depending on the manufacturer’s preferences.

“The FS4600 family is a terrific extension to our industry-leading Natural ID portfolio, offering compelling, feature-rich capabilities and performance to a broader [market],” Anthony Gioeli, vice president of marketing at Synaptics’ biometrics product division, said in a press release.

It comes on the heels of the firm’s other new flagship, the FS9100, which can scan fingerprints through glass up to 1mm. Notably, Apple is rumored to be working on a fingerprint sensor that would work inside a phone’s display.

But despite all the security built into Synaptics’ latest sensors, they still suffer from a perennial problem: Protection against forgery. Researchers at Michigan State University were able to demonstrate how an inkjet printer with silver conductive ink can fool most off-the-shelf fingerprint sensors, and other groups have successfully bypassed scanners using 2.5D images made with latex milk and white wood glue.

Making matters worse is the relative ease with which fingerprints can be lifted off of a device. Germany’s Chaos Computer Club, for example, was able to extract fingerprints off of the iPhone’s glass surface by taking high-resolution pictures.

But there may be solutions on the horizon. Scientists at the Langevin Institute in Paris recently developed a scanner capable of discerning fake fingerprints from real ones by capturing the “inside” of a person’s finger. In a similar vein, Qualcomm’s Sense ID uses ultrasound to penetrate the outer layers of your skin to see inside the ridges and special characteristics that make up your fingerprint, and detect whether the fingerprint is attached to a living human by checking blood flow.

Product Review

Looking for discrete graphics on the cheap? The Acer Swift 3 will do the trick

The Acer Swift 3 is a tweener laptop that’s not quite budget and not quite premium – and it feels and performs accordingly. It manages to hold its own, though, thanks to its discrete GPU.
Mobile

The best bezel-less phones cut all the right corners without losing space

As the smartphone industry marches toward a bezel-less future, we compare the shrinking bezels on the latest and greatest devices. Find out which manufacturers have the smallest bezels on their smartphone as we compare them side by side.
Product Review

Oppo's RX17 Pro is a good smartphone up against great competitors

The Oppo RX17 Pro looks great, and has a triple-lens camera on the back; but don’t let these aspects make you rush out and buy one, especially with the masses of excellent devices that are vying for your attention.
Mobile

The super-fast OnePlus 6T is getting a price cut on May 17

The new OnePlus 6T continues OnePlus's tradition, coming with flagship power, camera performance, and the gorgeous design you want -- but for under $600. Here's everything you need to know about the OnePlus 6T.
Gaming

Get ready to slay spiders and skeletons in real life with Minecraft Earth

Minecraft Earth is the new augmented reality mobile game that uses the Minecraft engine. We have everything you need to know including the release date, features, price, phone compatibility, and more.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Mobile

The Realme X is so cheap and so good that it defies the rules of economics

The Realme X has a 48-megapixel camera, an in-display fingerprint sensor, an AMOLED screen, and a Snapdragon 710 processor, yet it costs from $220. We've tried out the phone to see if it's too good to be true.
Mobile

Grab it as soon as it pops up: The OnePlus 7 Pro is now available for sale

The OnePlus 7 Pro has been revealed, and it's a monster of a phone with a stunning redesign, a pop-up selfie camera, powerful flagship specs, and a price that's hundreds of dollars less than the competition.
Mobile

Mad U.K. retailer slashes 99% off Google Pixel 3a price for a few lucky buyers

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
Mobile

How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If you’re having a problem you can’t seem to resolve with your Android device, or maybe you want to update it or wipe the cache, recovery mode could be what you’re looking for. Here's how to get your Android phone into recovery mode.
Home Theater

Why you can’t buy Car Thing, Spotify’s first hardware device

Spotify created a voice-activated, in-car device that lets you listen to music and podcasts. But Car Thing, as it is known, is not for sale. Instead, it will be used to gather data from a limited set of customers.
Social Media

Be the master of your own Insta-verse with multiple Instagram accounts

Whether you own a small business or have separate Instagram accounts for your five cats, we'll walk you through the process of switching between your multiple accounts on your Apple or Android devices.
Mobile

Can Apple or Samsung steal the OnePlus 7 Pro's flagship killer title?

OnePlus has long been the go-to for flagship specs under a flagship price. But now Apple and Samsung have challengers in the arena, and they want the Flagship Killer crown for themselves. Who wins? We found out.
Deals

Turn your Apple tablet into a laptop with one of these iPad keyboard cases

A keyboard case serves to both protect your iPad and give you a set of laptop keys. You don’t have to shell out tons of cash for a good one, either; if you’re looking for a way to turn your iPad into a 2-in-1 laptop, check these deals…