First in-screen fingerprint sensor announced in a smartphone

Vivo mobile phone with Synaptics in-display fingerprint sensor

As you touch the screen, the lit-up fingerprint is then reflected into an in-display fingerprint sensor which is then authenticated.

And this very morning, live on stage from from Mobile World Congress 2017, Shanghai, Vivo did just that: officially taking the wraps off what the company's dubbed, ingeniously, "Under Display Fingerprint Scanning Solution" - a revolutionary new glass-embedded fingerprint reader that's largely based on technology spearheaded by San Diego, California-based chip-maker, Qualcomm.

Apart from its highlight in-display fingerprint sensor, nothing else is known about the smartphone as of now. The image of your print goes on to make its way to an optical image sensor that is present beneath the display.

The actual phone that we demoed with vivo is still not finalized.

A fingerprint icon on the lockscreen shows you where to place your finger. The phone's OLED display panel illuminates the fingerprint which is them read by the sensor.


The technology is production-ready, according to Synaptics, which said it's been talking to vendors across the smartphone industry. While it travels on the surface, it creates a 3D map of the fingerprint under the display. Last month, though, Synaptics, the company behind many of your laptop's trackpads and other input devices, unveiled an in-screen fingerprint sensor called the Clear ID (pictured). Now smartphone manufacturers can use a fingerprint sensor on the front of the phone, without compromising on the thin bezels or the size of the phone. Simply place your finger over the icon and press gently.

That's not to say it worked all the time, though - at first the sensor often didn't recognize my finger.

Like many other smartphones, the fingerprint scanner is always waiting to detect a fingerprint when screen is off.

All in all, I'm happy to see Vivo's fingerprint innovation because Apple was rumored to be working on the same thing for the iPhone X, but reportedly ditched efforts entirely for Face ID.

Well, Chinese manufacturers showed a prototype of an in-screen fingerprint sensor even before the iPhone was out, but it was slow and not really where it needed to be to hit the markets. Like right now, when it's freezing in NY and I usually have a scarf covering half my face, and Face ID won't work.

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