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Fingerprint sensor upgrades with advanced security

Posted: 26 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Gina Roos? AuthenTec? EntrePad 1610?

AuthenTec's EntrePad 1610

Touted as the industry's first fingerprint sensor with the most advanced security features, AuthenTec has unveiled the EntrePad 1610 with advanced biometric security and a small footprint for portable applications such as notebook and tablet PCs. In addition, the integrated solution!sensor and associated circuitry including a built-in USB interface!comes with a price tag of about $5, said to be the sweet spot for laptop manufacturers.

Setting a new security standard, the EntrePad 1610 is said to feature the industry's most comprehensive security solution to protect PC users from security threats such as identity theft, phishing, password problems, and fake finger spoofing. This solution allows authentication through a simple finger swipe for every action made by the user!logon, file access, opening and sending e-mails.

The EntrePad 1610 is packaged in a smaller footprint!12-by-5mm with a 1.2mm or 1.96mm thickness!than previous versions. This device is about 33 percent smaller than any sensor on the market, including AuthenTec's previous versions, said Tom Aebli, director of marketing, AuthenTec. "Now we really start to push fingerprint sensors into more than desktop and laptop PCs, and move into mobile devices such as PDAs," he said.

But size is far from the only advantage the EntrePad 1610 brings to the table.

Touting a host of industry firsts for advanced security, the EntrePad 1610, for example, is the first sensor to leverage several industry security platforms, including the Trusted Computing Group's (TCG) version 1.2 Trusted Platform Module (TPM) specifications and Microsoft Vista Secure Startup, as well as future platforms such as Intel's LaGrande technology.

Aebli said AuthenTec is the first company to offer a complete solution that is tied in with the Trusted Computer Group's TPM module, and is the first to show some of the advantages it will offer with the upcoming Microsoft Vista operating system. "We've done quite a lot of work to tie in Vista with the TCG and upcoming technologies offered by Intel to round out a complete solution to ensure that the data on your PC is as secure as it can be," Aebli said.

In addition, the sensor is the first to offer next generation anti-spoofing technology. The company's proprietary TrueFinger anti-spoofing approach also allows for easy upgrades to next-generation versions, and offers secure matcher and fingerprint template storage using optional sensor flash.

The company said this sensor is also the first to provide always authentication, which protects PC users from logon to logoff, and every step in between, reducing the risk of fraud if a laptop is lost or stolen. This feature allows users to lock down all or part of the computer, applications and files and to securely log in and authenticate virtually every action on the PC including opening applications or files, sending emails or instant messages, authorizing purchases, and making edits to a website.

"With the always authentication, what the fingerprint sensor does is to unlock and enable all the security already built into your PC that is not used today," Aebli said.

The 1610 also incorporates the company's Power of Touch technology that allows PC manufacturers to add convenience, navigation and personalization with a finger swipe. It features a scroll wheel and full motion navigation, which can be added or used as an alternative when a touchpad is not available. It also provides a fast swipe speed of 75cm/s, compared with 17cm/s for the previous version. The sensor can accommodate different swipe speeds and angles.

It also requires less power. Power consumption (at 3.3V) is 35mA for imaging at 30cm/s and 4mA in finger detect mode. The device is also extremely rugged and is scratch and impact resistant, withstanding >10 million rubs. It's also RoHS compliant and lead free.

As with the company's other EntrePad sensors, the 1610 is built on AuthenTec's best-in-class TruePrint technology that reads below the surface layer of the fingerprint, enabling it to read virtually anyone's fingerprint, according to the company.

Packaged in a 40 ball grid array, the fingerprint sensor with all associated components is priced at approximately $5 in high-volume quantities.

- Gina Roos

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