Synaptics’ Clear ID puts the fingerprint sensor under your smartphone’s display

synaptics under glass clear id fingerprint sensor unveils technology 2
If you thought Apple’s Face ID spelled the end of the fingerprint sensor, think again. Synaptics Inc., a company that creates touchpads and fingerprint sensors, has unveiled the next-generation Synaptics Clear ID, a fingerprint sensor that sits just under the glass of a smartphone.

As smartphone manufacturers shrink the bezels around a screen, there’s less space for a fingerprint sensor on the front of the phone. Fingerprint sensors are used to unlock smartphones, and even access sensitive content like a banking app. Many Android manufacturers place these sensors on the back of the phone, so it doesn’t affect the bezel-less trend. Some — like OnePlus, LG, and Samsung — offer facial unlocking technology via the selfie camera.

The sensor is two times faster than 3D facial recognition.

With the iPhone X, Apple went all in on Face ID, going so far as to remove its fingerprint technology, Touch ID. The move has led analysts to believe more Android manufacturers will invest in facial-recognition 3D cameras next year. Synaptics thinks both rear fingerprint sensors and facial unlocking technology are not ideal. If your phone is sitting on a table, you have to pick it up to access the rear fingerprint sensor — the same is true to have it recognize your face. Apple’s Face ID also caused the iPhone X to have an “irregular-shaped display,” also known as the “notch,” to cram the tech in.

Synaptics’ Clear ID FS9500 is a mass-production-ready sensor the company will sell to smartphone manufacturers. It works under OLED displays, which most flagship smartphones use, and it’s quite different from a traditional sensor. The fingerprint sensor on your phone now is capacitive, using electric current to capture your imprint. Clear ID is an ultra-thin optical sensor that captures your print with light emitting from the OLED panel on the smartphone.

The full process works like this: The sensor detects the finger, the OLED display lights up the finger, the sensor scans the fingerprint, and the “matcher” verifies the image and confirms the imprint is yours, granting you access. The sensor can be placed anywhere on the screen the manufacturer wants, though Synaptics offers some general guidelines.

The Clear ID sensor can work on rigid or flexible displays, and the company told Digital Trends it should work even if the phone has a screen protector, or if the screen is wet. Synaptics said the sensor is two times faster than 3D facial recognition, unlocking at about 7 milliseconds — that’s on par with traditional fingerprint sensors today.

It’s unclear just how secure this under-glass fingerprint sensor is compared to present-day sensors, but Synaptics claims a 99 percent spoof attack rejection rate. It said the technology uses machine learning to help verify when there’s an attempted spoof taking place. We’ll have to test those claims when Clear ID makes its way into smartphones.

synaptics under glass clear id fingerprint sensor optical

When will that happen? Soon — the company is working with a top five smartphone manufacturer to integrate the Clear ID sensor into a bezel-less phone in 2018. Synaptics isn’t alone in this race. Qualcomm has already unveiled under-glass fingerprint scanners that utilize ultrasonic techology, and Apple was rumored to be working on similar technology in the lead up to the iPhone 8.

Synaptics will demo Clear ID at CES in January 2018.

Product Review

With style and feature upgrades, Misfit's next-generation Vapor 2 gets it right

Misfit’s next-generation smartwatch, the Vapor 2, packs built-in GPS, a heart-rate sensor, and more, into a beautiful design that starts from $250. We take a closer look at the company's latest device.
Mobile

Motorola Moto G7: Here’s everything we know

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.
Mobile

Samsung patents show what Infinity-O display could look like on Galaxy S10

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.
Deals

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Social Media

Addicted to Instagram? Its new ‘activity dashboard’ is here to help

Ever get that nagging feeling you're spending too much time on Instagram? Well, a new "activity dashboard" has a bunch of features designed to help you better control how you use the addictive photo-sharing app.
Mobile

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.
Computing

Four fake cryptocurrency apps were listed on the Google Play Store

It is a dangerous time to be going after crytocurrency on Android. Four bogus cryptocurrency apps were spotted on the Google Play Store this week, according to a report from cybersecurity researcher Lukas Stefanko. 
Mobile

New sensor from L’Oréal tracks UV exposure to keep your skin safe from the sun

L'Oréal has announced a new wearable sensor that attaches to your clothing and can track ultraviolet light. The sensor uses NFC instead of Bluetooth -- meaning it doesn't need a battery to work properly.
Cars

Uber rolls out rewards program that lets its most loyal riders lock in prices

Uber launched a new loyalty program today called Uber Rewards. It offers frequent riders credits to Uber Eats, car upgrades, and the ability to lock in prices on their most traveled routes.
Gaming

15 tips for keeping your vault-dwellers alive in ‘Fallout Shelter’

The wasteland can be an unfriendly place, if you don't know what you're doing. Here are 15 tips that will help your vault thrive in Fallout Shelter, including information on questing.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Mobile

T-Mobile's new Revvl 2, Revvl 2 Plus are now available for purchase

Last year, T-Mobile launched its own line of branded smartphones. As a follow-up to their predecessors, the carrier has unveiled the Revvl 2 and Revvl 2 Plus -- complete with a sleeker design. Here's everything you need to know.