LG Develops 'Under-Glass' Fingerprint Scanner

By Victor Thomson , May 04, 2016 06:04 AM EDT

LG Innotek has developed an innovative fingerprint sensor module that can sit under glass and allows users to unlock their smartphones without a recognition button.

According to Korea Times, this innovation coming from the South Korean tech giant LG will bring a paradigm shift in smartphone design. The world's largest smartphone camera module maker explained in a statement Sunday, May 1, that the module would not require an existing rectangular or circular fingerprint sensor button.

An LG spokeswoman also said that the button-less fingerprint module will also help manufacturers of handsets to improve features such as dust and waterproofing protection. As it does not require a specific fingerprint recognition button, the new module could significantly reduce any smartphone malfunctions.

The new module was designed as LG has succeeded in developing the required technology to attach a fingerprint sensor into the small space under smartphone's glass face. The South Korean company also announced that it is negotiating "with some handset manufacturers to commercialize the new modules within the year."

The under-glass fingerprint scanner module can be customized by LG Innotek for any handset manufacturer upon their request. A high molecular substance has been compounded into glass, guaranteeing a high level of solidity and helping it to absorb external shocks.

The company said that even after a 130 gram ball bearing was dropped on it from 20 centimeters the compounded glass did not break. As the in-glass fingerprint module comes with a 0.002 percent of error rate, the module's security level is also on par with that of other existing button-type fingerprint modules. 

According to Android Police, the new technology is somewhat similar to Qualcomm's Snapdragon Sense ID since it can be basically invisible. The difference is that LG's design appears to be of the traditional capacitive variety, while Qualcomm's solution uses ultrasonics to identify a fingerprint.

Kim Chang-Hwan, LG Innotek's research and development center chief, said in a statement that the company is gathering all its capabilities with the aim of developing differentiated technologies for its customers. LG Innotek will keep offering innovative products that serve customers in more easy and convenient ways.

The latest innovation is part of the LG Group's efforts to increase its market share on the fingerprint sensors sector that is experiencing a rapid growing demand. According to market analysts, it is estimated that the shipments for fingerprint sensor modules will be worth 1.6 billion won by 2020. According to market researcher HIS, this would represent a threefold increase from 499 million won as of the end of last year.

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