Synaptics has a new fingerprint sensor that will mean smoother phone screens

The sensor can read a fingerprint through glass that's 1mm thick

A Silicon Valley biometrics company says it has developed a fingerprint sensor that can sit under glass so smartphone screens don't need a cutout or extra button to accommodate the sensor.

The Synaptics FS9100 sensor can sit under a millimeter of glass and still provide accurate fingerprint readings, so it should be easier to integrate one under a display.

At present, most fingerprint sensors have to sit above the glass, necessitating a cutout in the face of the phone or a dedicated button that houses the sensor. That's the case on market-leading handsets like the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7.

And while there are some fingerprint sensors that work under glass, that glass needs to be thinner than 1mm, so the glass needs to be shaved in the area of the sensor.

Eliminating cutouts and shaving won't just mean cleaner industrial design but should also reduce the amount of glass wasted due to cracking during production.

Synaptics is already showing the sensor to smartphone manufacturers in the hope of getting orders. It will begin offering samples in the first quarter of next year and will be able to begin mass production as soon as the second quarter.

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