Vivo has done something Apple and Samsung have trying hard to achieve. Fingerprint sensors on smartphones have now become an industry standard — right from premium to low-end segments. However, until now sensors have either been embedded into physical home buttons up front, or separately at the back. Now though Vivo is looking at upping the game with its Under Display technology. Also Read - Apple CEO Tim Cook claims iOS is more secure than AndroidAlso Read - Samsung and LG confirm presence at in-person CES 2022
The Vivo Under Display technology, as the name suggests, embeds the fingerprint sensor beneath the display of a smartphone. And what s more; it can work not only through glass, OLED screen, but also aluminum. The technology has been built in collaboration with Qualcomm, and does not require a manufacturer to position the biometric sensor on the standard rear or front panel, Mashable reports. The Vivo Under Display technology leverages the display area, and allows users to touch the display at a designated spot to unlock or authenticate. This not only allows for the displays to cover the whole of the front panel, but also does away with the need to position the sensor at the back of the panel. The caveat, however, remains, that the authentication will be carried out only by touching a ‘designated’ area, and not anywhere on the display. This designated area is around the lower panel as it is more convenient in terms of ergonomics. Also Read - Apple Music Lossless, Spatial Audio features with Dolby Atmos coming soon to India
The sensor used by Vivo is Qualcomm s ultrasonic sensor, which we have already seen on the Xiaomi Mi 5s. The specialty of the sensor is that it used ultrasonic sound waves which penetrate the skin of the finger to make a 3D map of users fingerprints. Interestingly, the potential of these ultrasonic sensors had been laid out first during CES when Qualcomm first introduced the sensors. As the design is based out of sound and not optical reading, it can work through a range of different materials including steel, sapphire, glass, and some plastics. When Qualcomm first introduced the sensor, it argued that the ultrasonic sensors are much more secure than traditional sensors as they do not create two-dimensional fingerprints, which can be stolen or used to trick an optical sensor. RELATED: Qualcomm s ultrasonic fingerprint reader, here s how it is different from Touch ID
Now, the Vivo Under Display further improves on the sensor technology as it can penetrate 1.3mm of OLED, 525 m of aluminum or 800 m of glass. This is basically higher than Qualcomm’s previous technology that could only penetrate 400 m of glass, and capacitive scanners only go up to 300 m. In addition to that, Vivo s technology is not affected by ambient light, and can also work with wet fingers or sweat. Going forward, Vivo is also working on a variant that works underwater (so divers could finally authenticate from under the sea).
Vivo s technology has been laid out through a proof of concept, but the question remains is it ready for end consumers yet? The answer is a yes and a no. Vivo only showcased the technology at the ongoing MWC Shanghai 2017, while brands like Apple and Samsung are long-rumored to be working on the same technology and possibly introduce it in the coming future. Although Apple is unlikely to use Vivo s technology, there are huge possibilities of the upcoming iPhone 8 featuring an in-house sensor.
Meanwhile, Samsung is widely rumored to use Synaptics under-display ultrasonic sensor for its upcoming Galaxy Note 8. Nonetheless, Vivo s demonstration of the technology in action does indicate early success amidst other manufacturers who are still struggling with getting the position of the fingerprint sensors right. It also envisions a future where smartphones could be more aesthetically pleasing with slimmer bezels and invisible fingerprint sensors.