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Fingerprint Cards researcher explains low-power biometrics

Fingerprint Cards researcher explains low-power biometrics

The design strategy for biometric sensors employed by Fingerprint Cards from the beginning has emphasized low-power sensors.

The power requirements of fingerprint sensors were optimized through research and development so they would not compete with the more power-intensive processes on smartphones, or use power while inactive, the company explains in a blog post.

This is why, FPC Senior Vice President of Research and Development Fredrik Ramberg writes, it can provide biometric technology for payment cards without the cards needing to be charged overnight, like mobile devices are. Instead, energy harvested from terminals provide sufficient power to perform all operations, including accessing the secure element.

The same low-power technology can also be used in access control cards, fobs and wearables, according to the blog post.

Achieving that level of efficiency without compromising the user experience, however, requires optimizing each part of the system to work quickly without any peaks in current. System performance must also be sufficient to support reduced image processing complexity and avoid the need to take multiple images. The card must be efficient enough to run on the power drawn from the terminals with the lowest power consumption, to work with all legacy infrastructure. Power consumption must also remain fairly consistent to avoid disrupting communication with the terminal, Ramberg explains.

Functionality can be tuned to meet the requirements of specific infrastructure, with longer image-reading times enabling lower power usage.

Getting the technology right for payments, with its stringent standards and requirements, means that the other use cases noted above will be less complicated, at least from a power consumption perspective.

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