IDEX demonstrates contactless fingerprint sensor for card applications

October 12, 2017 - 

IDEX is now demonstrating its flexible, low power fingerprint sensor suitable for all contactless cards applications operating with standard NFC terminals.

The move follows IDEX’s launch earlier this year of its low power, low cost ASIC specifically designed for contactless biometric card applications.

Soon after the release of the ASIC, IDEX released a new flexible fingerprint sensor incorporating this new ASIC.

IDEX has begun sampling this new sensor for both contact and contactless card applications after actively demonstrating the sensor to leading card integrators and partners with positive feedback.

The company will also exhibit the solution at Money20/20 in Las Vegas, held October 22-25.

“A fundamental challenge with biometric cards is that they cannot easily contain an internal power source and card manufacturers don’t want to use batteries because they are costly and difficult to maintain,” said Dr. Hemant Mardia, CEO of IDEX. “This means that biometric cards must be powered by the card reader, either using direct contact or by collecting electrical power from a contactless radio field. The limited power in both of these methods puts extremely tight constraints on the biometric solution including the sensor. However, I’m very pleased to say that we at IDEX can now offer a biometric card system that works well for both contact and contact-less applications using existing card terminals.

Idex’s fingerprint sensor systems have been developed with several major ecosystem partners to meet the rapid growth in demand for more secure payment mechanisms.”

IDEX’s sensors features several key aspects which solve card specific problems including IDEX sensor images being large enough (over 80 square mm) to capture the larger image of the fingerprint needed for the constrained card system; the sensor’s size enabling ultra-compact matching algorithms to be tuned optimally for low cost and low power memory constrained microprocessors that are essential for contactless applications; the system adhering to the low power requirements of a standard contactless card use (consumes less than 25 mW of power to capture the image); and the ASIC’s onboard digital intelligence supporting both securely encrypted communication and advanced power management within the sensor.

The combination of low cost, fully flexible sensor, reduced silicon ASIC footprint and standard contactless power harvesting technology ensures that IDEX’s contactless card design can be manufactured at a significantly lower cost than competing designs currently proposed in the market.

Reference cards featuring IDEX sensor solution have passed critical energy harvesting tests needed to meet the ISO14443 standard which will allow card integrators to manufacture a biometric contactless card with the standard class 1 Antenna and NFC power management.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.