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.

Photography

The Google Cardboard of scanners, this Kodak takes film from attic to Instagram

The Google Cardboard of film scanners, the Kodak Mobile FIlm Scanner uses a piece of cardboard and the camera that you already have in your pocket to get film in the attic on Instagram without a major investment.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Computing

Use one of these password managers to help protect yourself online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper password manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options.
Photography

Digitize old photos and film with the best photo scanners for 2019

Got a box of old photos to scan, or a batch of fresh film to digitize? The best photo scanners offer high-resolution, colorful scans along with features to make the scanning process less tedious.
Mobile

A.I. photo filters use neural networks to make photos look like Picassos

Artificial Intelligence apps put a novel spin on social network-style photo filters. Instead of just overlaying an effect, these photo filters use machine learning and neural networks to transform an image into a predetermined style.
Mobile

Samsung’s latest RAM chips can move data superfast on your next-gen smartphone

Samsung just announced its fastest RAM chips yet, boasting 44 GB/s transfer speeds with LPDDR5 technology on a 10-nm process. These 12-gigabyte monsters are meant to take 5G and A.I. to the next level on your next-gen smartphone.
Deals

Amazon Prime Day deals are ending, but you can still get great bargains

Prime Day 2019 has come to an end for Amazon, but that doesn't mean the Prime Day deals are over. With deals from Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon still going on, this massive shopping event is continuing on through the week.
Mobile

Big, beautiful, and breakable: Check out the best Galaxy S8 Plus cases

There’s no denying Samsung’s ability to turn out an attractive smartphone, but glass curves are expensive to fix and metal chips easily. We've rounded up the best Galaxy S8 Plus cases on the market.
Wearables

FCC filing reveals impressive specs for luxury Movado Connect 2.0 smartwatch

It's been a while since we saw a smartwatch from luxury watchmaker Movado, but that drought may be over soon. FCC filings for the Movado Connect 2.0 have surfaced, and they paint a picture of a high-spec smartwatch.
Mobile

T-Mobile wants to give you a free smartphone when you add a line

Did someone say free smartphones? T-Mobile is offering free smartphones from a select range of affordable phones when a new line is opened on its $40 per month per line Magenta tier and above.
Mobile

Get your game on with the best controllers for Android smartphones

If you're looking to do some serious gaming on an Android device, you're going to need a gamepad. Here are the best controllers for Android games on smartphones and tablets, with rechargeable and wireless options.
Mobile

The best mobile collage apps, for when a single image or video just won't cut it

Today's collage apps combine images and videos into a crafted presentation complete with fonts, stickers, memes, and other elements that tells a story, instead of relying on a single iconic representation of a place or event.
Photography

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Mobile

Here’s every Alexa Built-in phone that can access Amazon’s assistant on the move

If you've got your Amazon Echo, Echo Show, and Fire TV set up, you might want a phone that's just as tied into your Amazon-based A.I. network. Here's every Alexa Built-in smartphone you can buy from Amazon right now.