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Touch Biometrix unveils fingerprint sensors launch plans with Series B funding round

Touch Biometrix unveils fingerprint sensors launch plans with Series B funding round
 

Touch Biometrix has announced a successful Series B funding round, and plans to launch a FAP60 fingerprint biometric sensor as the first product utilizing its thin transistor film (TFT) technology with ‘active pixels.’

The company declined to specify the amount of funding it has received in the latest round, which was led by the Deepbridge Capital Technology Growth Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) fund.

CEO Mike Cowin tells Biometric Update that Touch Biometrix may add to its head count over the next 12 months, but the team to deliver its biometric products to market is already in place, with more than 120 years of collective experience bringing TFT-based products to market.

The newest funding announcement follows a £2 million (approximately US$2.5 million) Series A funding round in 2019, and more recently a partnership on go-to-market strategy with SystematIC.

Touch Biometrix says in the announcement that its FAP60 sensors are planned for a sample product release in the third quarter of 2022, to demonstrate its high resolution and slim form factor.

Design and simulations completed over the past 12 to 18 months with Touch’s production partner give Cowin confidence that no barriers to producing the product remain to be solved before market entry.

“In addition to the sensor design we have developed our own read out IC (ROIC) with our development partner Systematic, so both the sensor and ROIC will delivered on time to issue samples to the customer pipeline,” Cowin explains. “Indeed, now that the heavy lifting has been done in proving our patented ‘active pixel’ design in product form, we’re considering a multiple product launch as the additional development is minimal in defining and delivering say a FAP45 or FAP30 sensor at the same time, so no major challenges remain.”

The fabless developer says its new manufacturing model enables high volume production of fingerprint biometric sensors at low cost and at any size, on glass or plastic, with different shapes possible with the latter material.

“We are delighted to continue our support with Touch Biometrix at what is an exciting time for the biometric industry,” comments Deepbridge Capital Technology Fund Investment Director Adrian Neilan. “We understand there is an increasing need for secure user authentication technology and we believe Touch Biometrix have a unique capability with their production partners to move quickly in this market and make a significant impact. This investment will support the market entry and scaled commercialisation of their first products.”

The choice of a FAP60 sensor is obvious, Cowin says, given current market demand for enterprise and government applications. That demand also extends to other large-area sensors, like FAP45 and FAP30 products, and Cowin notes that as capacitive sensors, they can be printed over “with no effect on performance.”

“We’re therefore developing a biometric card application and a laptop trackpad application where the sensor covers the complete surface of both the track pad and biometric card application under a printed front surface,” Cowin reveals. “We’re aiming to have demo units by early 2023 for CES which should cause a great deal of interest in the industry. It should also be noted that as a fabless developer, our business model is that our production partner in Asia will drive worldwide sales which allows us to stick with what we are good at, intelligent design.”

Despite market pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic, in late-2021 MarketsandMarkets forecast the global market for fingerprint biometric sensors to grow at a 10.9 percent CAGR to $5.8 billion by 2026.

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