Qualcomm lifted the curtains on its latest smartphone security solution at their Snapdragon Tech Summit yesterday. The system is called the 3D Sonic Max and it uses ultrasound to trace the user’s fingerprint from below their smartphone’s display. The use of ultrasound over conventional optical sensors has many advantages, for example, it is faster and takes a more accurate impression of the fingerprint. It also ignores hinderances such as wet or sticky fingers and is more secure than an optical sensor would be. This is already incredible in itself, however, the system’s party piece is that it is 17 times bigger than any previous fingerprint sensor by Qualcomm and will be able to scan two fingerprints simultaneously.
Having such a large sensor not only lets you open your phone more conveniently, but also amps up the security offered by the system. The new sensor overcomes the deficiencies of its predecessors, which could only sense part of your finger due to their small size. Such a large surface area means more of your fingerprint is mapped and verified before your device opens. Also, if you set the sensor to open only when you place two fingers on it, it will make it harder to bypass the system by replicating one fingerprint.
The 3D Sonic Max dwarves older 4mm x 9mm sensors and measures 20mm x 30mm. That’s 600 square millimeters of sensing area, making it near impossible to miss. It also makes it incredibly difficult to fool the security system, with just a 1 in a million chance of messing up versus the 1 in 50,000 of its competitors.