Qualcomm’s New Fingerprint Sensors Works From Under the Surface

Qualcomm has announced its next-generation of Ultrasonic fingerprint sensors, which will work under a display, metal or glass. In addition to that, these new fingerprint sensors will also work under-water as they are rated at IP68, like most smartphones these days. These three new fingerprint sensors are made to work through water and oil, and still be reliable and accurate.

So even if you are cooking, you can pick up your smartphone and still be able to unlock it with your fingerprint. Qualcomm also notes that these fingerprint sensors do also support blood flow and your heartbeat, so there’s no more needing to touch the flash next to your camera (and risk smudging the camera lens) to check your heart rate.

These new Ultrasonic fingerprint sensors do also support gestures. This is a feature that has been adopted recently by a number of smartphone makers. Allowing users to do things like swipe down on the sensor to bring down the notification shade and such.

Qualcomm notes that these fingerprint sensors are the first to scan through up to 800µm of cover glass and 525µm of aluminum. Making them pretty powerful fingerprint sensors. It’s also the first fingerprint sensor to detect heart rate and blood flow, as other smartphones have done this using the flash next to the camera, instead of the fingerprint sensor.

This Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is going to mean that manufacturers like ASUS, HTC, LG, and Samsung will be able to put their fingerprint sensors under glass, and won’t need to cut a hole in the back of the device for the sensor. Manufacturers could also put it on the display of their smartphones, really making it hidden.

Qualcomm announced Ultrasonic fingerprint sensors a few years ago, but we never saw them launch in any commercially available devices. Qualcomm is looking to change that with this generation. The company notes that these Ultrasonic fingerprint sensors will work with current and future Snapdragon 200, 400, 600 and 800-series processors, including the recently announced Snapdragon 630 and 660 SoC’s. On top of that, they will also be compatible with non-Snapdragon chipsets, like those made by MediaTek, Samsung and NVIDIA.