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The most important types of fingerprint scanners in smartphones

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Smartphones come with various security systems like PIN code, password, facial recognition and other systems to keep your device safe from hacking. A fingerprint scanner is also a type of electronic security system that uses fingerprints for biometric authentication to give users access to their devices. Fingerprint scanners are now a common security system found on most mobile devices.

What are fingerprint scanners?
We all know that every human being has their own unique fingerprints, this feature helps devices to successfully identify individual users. As technology has advanced, manufacturers have been able to incorporate fingerprint scanners (or sensors) as an optional security feature for mobile devices. Fingerprint scanners are now commonplace on most mobile devices as users enjoy them for their security and convenience.

These sensors capture the precise curves and edges of a finger and use device pattern matching and analysis software to process the information and compare it to a list of registered fingerprints. Access to the device is granted only when there is a successful match to verify the user’s identity. The method for capturing data varies depending on the type of sensor used in the device.

Here are some types of fingerprint scanners and how they work, as reported by The Times of India:

Scanners usually make an optical copy of the finger. Most scanners illuminate the finger to provide optimal line contrast, as a light-sensitive sensor records the information to produce a digital image. Most fingerprint scanners attached to computers use optical sensors.

capacitive scanner
Capacitive scanners use electricity instead of light to identify fingerprint patterns. The device measures the load on a finger while it is placed on a capacitive touch surface. The sensor identifies finger curves that show a change in amplitude. All of this data is used by the sensor to accurately draw the fingerprint. Most smartphones use capacitive sensors to scan fingerprints.

ultrasound scanner
Ultrasound scanners use sound waves to work. It is very similar to the echolocation process that bats and dolphins use to find and identify objects. The device is designed to discharge pulses of ultrasound and measure the amount that bounces back. The curves and edges of the fingers reflect sound differently, which ultimately helps ultrasound scanners create a detailed 3D map of fingerprint patterns. A 3D in-display fingerprint sensor developed by Qualcomm has been used in Samsung devices.

capacitive scanners
Ultrasonic fingerprint scanners are not the only option for manufacturers, as optical fingerprint scanners can also be used. These scanners have “real touch” requirements for capacitive sensors and speed and power efficiency for scanners. This technology is integrated into mobile devices by inserting a sensor at the bottom of the screen that detects the light reflected by the fingerprint through the gaps in the pixels.


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