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Mobile phone fingerprint scanner

Updated on July 21, 2015

Latest Smartphones manufactured by top manufacturers come with a fingerprint scanner. When you hope to buy a smartphone you think about your top priorities like the cost, display size of the phone, processor speed, memory capacity, storage, battery standby time, number of SIM cards, camera and so on. According to your priorities you select the most appropriate phone that you should buy. But If privacy and security is on top of the list of priorities, you will select a smartphone with a fingerprint scanner.

Fingerprint analysis
Fingerprint analysis

Fingerprint is a unique mark for a human. Even identical twins have different fingerprints. Two prints might look the same at a glance but a competent detective or an advanced computer software can detect the differences between the two. This is the theory behind fingerprint analysis in both crime investigation and security matters. A fingerprint scanner replaces a human analyst. It collects print sample and then compares with other samples on record. How scanners do this?

iPhone 5S Smart Phone
iPhone 5S Smart Phone
Motorola Atrix Phone
Motorola Atrix Phone

Motorola’s John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper demonstrated the first hand-held cell phone in 1973 weighing around 4.4 pounds. Motorola was the first company to introduce a fingerprint scanner in its flagship Smartphone Motorola Atrix in 2011. Apple Inc. followed Motorola with the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner in its flagship phone iPhone 5S in 2013. Apple came with a new name for the fingerprint scanner introduced by them in iPhone 5S. That was “Touch ID”. Soon afterwards, HTC too followed with the launch of HTC One Max but their product failed to bring an accurate scanner. The technology giants like Samsung, Sony, LG were silent about fingerprint scanner for some time and their products were introduced to the market during this period without a fingerprint scanner.

HTC One Max Smart Phone
HTC One Max Smart Phone
Samsung Galaxy S5 Smart Phone
Samsung Galaxy S5 Smart Phone

However in April 2014, Samsung launched their flagship smartphone Samsung Galaxy S5 fully equipped with a fingerprint sensor located on front panel and just above the home button. HTC came back from their failed One Max, with the new HTC M9+ which included an entirely revamped touch ID. Users say that HTC’s Touch ID is a startling feature that supports 360 degree identity which works faster than the Touch ID of iPhone 6.

Elephone is a company based in Hongkong and it is a well-known brand in China and Asia but not an internationally well-known brand. But their handsets are very powerful, and feature rich devices like other Chinese mobiles such as Xiaomi, Huawei, OnePlus, etc. Their latest smartphone Elephone P7000 comes with high-end features with a low price. It offers Unlock Touch ID located on the rear side just below the camera.

Elephone P7000 Smart Phone
Elephone P7000 Smart Phone

Huawei Ascend Mate 7 was released in September 2014. It comes with an amazing, highly accurate fingerprint scanner. It is said to be the most accurate fingerprint scanner to date.

Huawei Ascend Mate 7 Smart Phone
Huawei Ascend Mate 7 Smart Phone

Just like Ascend Mate 7, Meizu MX4 Pro is another Smartphone that comes with one touch unlocking fingerprint sensor located on the front panel just above the home button. It is another highly accurate fingerprint sensor.

Meizu MX4 Pro Smart Phone
Meizu MX4 Pro Smart Phone
Charge-coupled device
Charge-coupled device | Source

A fingerprint scanner first takes an image of your finger and then determines whether the pattern of ridges and valleys in the image matches with the pattern of ridges and valleys in pre-scanned images stored in the device. The same light sensor system used in digital cameras and camcorders is used in Optical type fingerprint scanners. This is called CCD or Charge Coupled Device. It is an array of light-sensitive diodes and it generates an electrical signal in response to light photons. When you place your finger on a small glass plate which covers the CCD camera, the scanning process begins. CCD camera takes a picture of your finger tip. The scanner has a LED light source to illuminate the ridges of the finger. The CCD system generates an inverted image of the finger. If the processor finds that the image is clear and properly exposed, it then matches the captured fingerprint with the fingerprints stored.

Capacitance type fingerprint scanners too generate an image of the ridges and valleys of a fingerprint. But, unlike optical scanners, it uses an electrical current. The main advantage of a Capacitance scanner is that it requires a real fingerprint-type shape, rather than the pattern of light and dark that makes up the visual impression of a fingerprint. This makes the system harder to trick. Additionally, since they use a semiconductor chip rather than a CCD unit, Capacitance scanners tend to be more compact than optical devices.

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