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Hybrid capacitive and optical biometric sensor patented by Fingerprint Cards



A new kind of biometric sensor has been patented by Fingerprint Cards, combining capacitive and optical fingerprint sensing to provide more options for biometrics scanning on electronic devices.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the patent for a “Hybrid optical and capacitive sensor”, which was originally filed in September 2018. The sensor integrates the electrodes of a capacitive sensor with a plurality of image sensor pixels and lighting elements, and a processing system with one or more controllers. The capacitive electrodes would be used in low-power operating mode, and to capture an image otherwise.

The different sensor elements may be integrated in a single layer or layered one on top of the other, according to the patent. The document also describes methods for detecting and reacting to intended use, guiding finger placement, and other typical fingerprint sensor functions.

The patent is fairly broad, setting out possible examples in which the capacitive sensor operates based on self capacitance and mutual capacitance, and for the use of direct and indirect illumination with the optical sensor in creating 2D, 3D, or images including “higher dimensional spaces.”

The document mentions use in fingerprint readers, peripherals, or notebook or desktop computers, as well as mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

FPC’s own Twitter feed has announced that the company is supplying fingerprint biometrics for the Huawei Y6p and Enjoy Z, and the Honor 30S, X10, Play 9A and 9C smartphones. The new implementations bring the total number of mobile devices featuring Fingerprint Cards sensors to 439.

Fingerprint Cards makes optical sensors, such as the FPC1610 for in-display mobile device implementations, and low-power capacitive sensors like the FPC1020 and FPC1024 which were launched earlier this year.

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