Soon your phone’s fingerprint sensor could last a whole lot longer and be a whole lot more durable. Synaptics has taken the wraps off of a new optical fingerprint sensor that can scan fingerprints through glass up to 1mm thick.
The sensor is called the FS9100 and it would eliminate many of the problems associated with fingerprint sensors these days — for example, your phone wouldn’t need a separate button cut-out and it would be able to safely detect your fingerprint sensor even if your fingers are wet. Not only that but the sensor itself is protected by a waterproof, scratch-proof glass, meaning it could last a lot longer than other fingerprint sensors.
According to Synaptics, the sensor will be available for sampling in early 2017 and will go into full production later that year. Currently, we do not know of any particular devices that will get the new sensor, however, as The Verge notes, Samsung has traditionally used Synaptic sensors, so we could end up seeing the new sensor in the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8.
The fingerprint sensor, in general, is set to go through development over the next few years. Apple is rumored to be working on a fingerprint sensor that would work inside the phone’s actual display — so all you would need to do is touch the display of the phone to authenticate your identity. Eventually, of course, we may not need a fingerprint sensor at all — phones could use other biometric authentication methods, like retinal scans, voice recognition, facial recognition, and so on. Your phone could even soon use your heartbeat, which is itself slightly different than anyone else’s, to determine that it is really you accessing the device.