Fa­cial, fin­ger­print­ing tech locked in a duel

China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG -

Edi­tor’s note: The pro­lif­er­a­tion of fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy around the world has not meant the in­stant demise of fin­ger­print­ing for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pur­poses. A Shen­zhen com­pany is con­fi­dent that fin­ger­print­ing still has a place in the sun and is pro­jected to grow fur­ther. tele­phones and grad­u­ally turned it­self into a provider of ca­pac­i­tive touch con­trollers and fin­ger­print sen­sors.

Now the com­pany pro­vides its in-dis­play fin­ger­print tech­nol­ogy to Huawei, which was em­bed­ded in its new mod­els, Mate 20 Pro and Mate 20 RS Porsche De­sign, re­leased ear­lier this week.

Tra­di­tion­ally, ca­pac­i­tive fin­ger­print sen­sors are con­nected to the home but­ton on smart­phones as a method of au­then­ti­cat­ing iden­tity. Global smart­phone be­he­moth Ap­ple Inc had in­tro­duced fin­ger­print recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy Touch ID to its smart­phones back in 2013.

But, with bezel­less smart­phone de­sign fast dic­tat­ing fu­ture hand­set de­sign, man­u­fac­tur­ers are seek­ing so­lu­tions to get rid of the home but­ton. Ap­ple, for in­stance, re­placed it with Face ID last year so as to present a “full dis­play”.

The prob­lem is that tra­di­tional ca­pac­i­tive sen­sors can’t work for in-dis­play recog­ni­tion. Due to doubts over fin­ger­print recog­ni­tion’s fu­ture and the slow­down in over­all smart­phone sales, Goodix suf­fered a 24-per­cent fall in sales rev­enue in the first half of this year.

Zhang Fan, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Shen­zhen Goodix Tech­nol­ogy, never stopped seek­ing pos­si­ble so­lu­tions for in-dis­play fin­ger­print tech­nol­ogy although he ad­mits there has been much pres­sure in the in­dus­try, even from his clients, about its po­ten­tial.

He was de­ter­mined to “solve the un­cer­tainty of tech­nol­ogy and keep ex­plor­ing where pos­si­bil­ity ex­ists” as he be­lieves this is a nec­es­sary process of in­no­va­tion.

Af­ter five years of re­search, Zhang’s team last year un­veiled an in­no­va­tive op­ti­cal so­lu­tion to re­al­ize in-dis­play fin­ger­print­ing. The cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy gives smart­phone mak­ers an al­ter­na­tive to re­move the home but­ton by in­sert­ing the fin­ger­print sen­sor mod­ule un­der dis­play so that users can press their fin­ger on the screen di­rectly to un­lock the phone.

At the same time, the com­pany plowed more than 16 per­cent of its rev­enue into re­search and de­vel­op­ment, set­ting up an op­ti­cal in-dis­play fin­ger­print R&D team of more than 400 staff.

It be­gan mass pro­duc­tion in the first half of this year. Pre­vi­ously, the mod­ule was pasted un­der the screen and the cost of the sin­gle ac­tion is about $3 each unit, not men­tion­ing wast­ing ex­pen­sive OLED screens if it failed, re­veals Zhang.

One sig­nif­i­cant in­no­va­tion of their mass pro­duc­tion so­lu­tion is to sep­a­rate the mod­ule from the screen so that the dif­fi­cul­ties and costs are sub­stan­tially low­ered.

By in­te­grat­ing op­ti­cal sys­tem de­sign, im­age sen­sor and al­go­rithm, he’s con­fi­dent that their in-dis­play fin­ger­print tech­nol­ogy is as fast and ac­cu­rate as the tra­di­tional home but­ton.

The false re­ject rate (falsely re­ject­ing the gen­uine fin­ger­print) has been re­duced to 2 per­cent, which is the in­dus­try stan­dard, and the un­lock­ing speed short­ened from one to 0.35 sec­ond.

Zhang pre­dicts that ship­ments of their op­ti­cal in-dis­play fin­ger­print so­lu­tion could reach 10 mil­lion in the sec­ond half of this year.

The in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy has been adopted by main­stream phone mak­ers in China, such as Huawei, Vivo and Xiaomi.

“I be­lieve mul­ti­ple bio­met­ric au­then­ti­ca­tions can co-ex­ist in one ter­mi­nal in fu­ture but, for now, fin­ger­print­ing is the most pop­u­lar among users, ac­cord­ing to our clients’ sur­vey,” says Zhang.

A grow­ing num­ber of in­dus­try play­ers have be­gun ac­cept­ing the al­ter­na­tive as more providers, such as US chip gi­ant Qual­comm and Sy­nap­tics, have now gone into in-dis­play fin­ger­print pro­duc­tion. The in­dus­try is be­ing re­vived.

Ac­cord­ing to pro­jec­tion by global in­for­ma­tion group IHS Markit, ship­ments of smart­phones with in-dis­play fin­ger­print sen­sors would reach 100 mil­lion units by 2019.

Mul­ti­ple bio­met­ric au­then­ti­ca­tions aac can co-ex­ist in one ter­mi­nal in fu­ture but, for now, fin­ger­print­ing is the most pop­u­lar among users, ac­cord­ing to our clients’ sur­vey.”

Guo Mingqi, an an­a­lyst at TF In­ter­na­tional Se­cu­ri­ties, said An­droid-based smart­phone brands have re­garded in-dis­play fin­ger­print sen­sors as a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion from iPhones.

He pre­dicted that South Korean tech gi­ant Sam­sung will start adopt­ing such tech­nol­ogy next year.

“For­eign phone mak­ers, such as Ap­ple Inc and Sam­sung, have al­ways taken the lead in in­tro­duc­ing new func­tions for smart­phones, but now, do­mes­tic brands have risen to the oc­ca­sion and won’t just fol­low oth­ers any­more,” says Zhang.

How­ever, he still keeps a clear head about the tech­nol­ogy’s lim­i­ta­tions. For ex­am­ple, the tech­nol­ogy can only work un­der flex­i­ble and rigid OLED screens but not LCD, which is the ma­jor choice of low-price phones.

Shen­zhen Goodix is work­ing on the is­sue and ex­pects smart­phones cost­ing around 1,000 yuan to have such a new tech­nique next year.

“There’s still much po­ten­tial to be tapped,” says Zhang, adding that users may not have to press a fixed spot on the screen for fin­ger­print au­then­ti­ca­tion, but any­where on the dis­play in fu­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.