Qualcomm launches Snapdragon fingerprint scanning technology

Based on government-grade technology, Qualcomm's Snapdragon Sense ID is said to go far beyond current biometric scanners.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Qualcomm has announced the availability of the Snapdragon Sense ID 3D fingerprint technology, a biometric solution designed to both improve device security and usher in a new generation of "elegant and innovative" mobile devices.

Revealed on Monday at Mobile World Congress in Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, the US chip maker's subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies Inc (QTI), said the biometric solution is the only type currently on the market which relies on ultrasonic technology.

The ultrasonic technology used is government-grade and is touted to have a number of "distinct" advantages over touch-based solutions currently on the market. Through ultrasonic technology, sensors can scan through a smartphone cover made of glass, aluminum, stainless steel, sapphire and plastics to authenticate a device user, as well as scan through contaminants such as sweat, liquid and lotions.

In addition, Qualcomm says the fingerprint scanner is able to penetrate different levels of skin, detecting 3D details including ridges and sweat pores -- an element touch-based biometrics do not possess.

This type of technology would also make spoofing a fingerprint far harder to achieve, and could, therefore, improve personal device security.

The Snapdragon Sense ID 3D fingerprint technology is designed to boost personal security, usability and integration over touch-based fingerprint technologies. The new authentication platform also utilizes Qualcomm SecureMSM technology and the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) specification to remove the need for passwords -- or to remember multiple account usernames and passwords. As a result, in the future, users will be able to login to any website which supports FIDO through using their device and a partnering browser plug-in.

Raj Talluri, senior vice president of product management at QTI commented:

"Mobile devices increasingly store our most valuable and sensitive information, while passwords alone do not provide the protection consumers deserve. Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology's unique use of ultrasonic technology revolutionizes biometrics from 2D to 3D, allowing for greater accuracy, privacy and stronger authentication.

We are very proud to bring the mobile industry's first ultrasonic-based biometric authentication technology to mobile device manufacturers and their customers, who will benefit from the improved and differentiated user experience."

Qualcomm's Snapdragon Sense ID 3D technology is expected to be present in devices later this year.

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