As phone makers eye edge-to-edge screens and look to ditch the home button, what happens to fingerprint sensors? You could place them on the rear of the device, like the LG V20, but not everyone loves that solution.
Synaptics has a new option: optical-based fingerprint sensors designed to fit under cover glass. The company’s Natural ID solution can detect and verify a fingerprint through a 1mm screen, which could allow manufacturers to replace the traditional home button with an on-screen version—a move Apple is reportedly eyeing for the next-gen iPhone.
The technology should work even if your hands are wet, according to Synaptics.
Optical sensing technology “has not been widely adopted in smartphones and tablets due to form factor and power consumption limitations,” according to Les Santiago, research director for market research firm IDC. “By bringing optical sensing technology with the right form factor and power consumption envelope to smartphones and tablets, Synaptics is enabling the elimination of the home button which is a critical next step to full top-to-bottom, edge-to-edge smartphone and tablet displays.”
Synaptics is not the only firm working on innovative uses for glass. California-based startup Kinestral recently introduced Halio, its smart-tinting glass.
It looks like ordinary clear glass, but it can automatically or manually change shade to block unwanted light or increase privacy. Users can program Halio to respond to weather, time, or the sun’s position; or use voice commands and wall-mounted controls to activate a neutral gray tint in the office or at home.