Fibre-optics fuel fingerprint-sensing touchscreen, Fiberio

July 18, 2013 - 

Two German researchers have designed a touchscreen, called Fiberio, capable of fingerprint verification, without the need for an embedded scanner.

“Displays cannot scan fingerprints and fingerprint sensors cannot display images,” Christian Holz, from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany said. “What we have invented does both. No one has done this before.”

According to a report in New Scientist, Holz and his colleague, Patrick Paudisch built their prototype using a glass plate with millions of tiny fibre-optic cables inside as well as a rear-mounted projector. It is through this system of fibre-optics that the screen is capable of both emitting and sensing light.

Early tests have shown a pretty high level of accuracy in terms of user verification.

“Up to FBI standards,” Holz said.

According to Holz’s website, the system verifies identity and authenticates users by taking samples ambiently during regular interaction, rather than using only a static fingerprint image.

A paper on the report is set to appear in Proceedings of the 26th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology, set to take place in October 2013 in St. Andrews, UK.

A touchscreen that can authenticate by fingerprint is an impressive innovation, as many consumer devices are beginning to incorporate fingerprint technology, though integration is a common roadblock.

Apple has long been believed to be looking to incorporate fingerprint technology in its next iPhone, and based on all of the leaked photos, patent applications, acquisitions and job postings, it’s very likely it will happen.

The next iPhone was set to be released this June, though it’s possible the device’s anticipated fingerprint sensor is causing a delay and will push that date deeper into the calendar year, as reports have emerged suggesting Apple has been having problems with its work implementing the rumored sensor.

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj