Your next smartphone may be able to read your fingerprints with a piece of technology invisible to the naked eye. Fingerprint Cards (FPC), together with TPK, Friday unveiled a fingerprint scanner that sits directly under the cover glass, reading a user’s fingerprint without requiring any moving parts. The catchily named "FPC1268" would result in a seamless design on the front of the device.
The partnership brings together FPC's expertise in biometric technology with TPK's glass lamination breakthroughs. The two companies plan to demonstrate the new sensor at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, next week.
“Our partnership, combining the major strengths of our respective offerings, enables smartphone manufacturers to bring forward new highly attractive industrial designs,” Michael Chung, CEO of TPK, said in a statement.
Fingerprint scanners have a variety of uses on modern smartphones. Beyond unlocking the device, biometrics has taken on new importance with the rise of mobile payment systems like Apple Pay and Android Pay. These payment systems use fingerprint scanners to authenticate contactless payments at checkout, ensuring the person currently using the device is the cardholder.
Apple previously has been reported as developing a similar technology for future iPhones, which would allow for thinner bezels and displays. Removing the home button would also mean there would be one less moving part to break.
Apple recently came under fire for disabling phones where the fingerprint sensor had been replaced during third party repairs. Switching to a buttonless system could reduce the likelihood of needing to make such repairs in the first place.