FingerPrint Scanner or Biometric Scanner and their types

FingerPrint scanners:

We unlocked our smartphone through a swipe or through a face, id, fingerprint, passcode or a pattern unlock but if you have a fingerprint sensor in your smartphone you have used it most of the times because it is more convenient to use and even work better in dark. So to understand this fingerprint in more detail let’s get started. First let’s know the key term for this which is biometric.


Before the invention of the biometric sensor we used pin as password in mobile phone or in security system. But with the invention of the biometric security system is totally changed and become more secure.

fingerprint scanner

So biometrics is the body measurements and calculation related to human characteristics. So these provide a way to measure a person’s physical characteristics to verify their identity. So fingerprint scanner is security system of the biometrics. Everyone have unique fingerprint that means fingerprint scanner identifies and authenticates the fingerprint of individual. In order to allow us into system or not. In smartphones, we all have used pattern or password lock and after that companies came up with ideas like fingerprint, face, retina scanner, to add more security for the system and now unlocking by veins in hand can also be seen which is introduced by LG but here our topic is fingerprint scanner. So leaving others and focusing on this sensor we will see that the basic function of every scanner is obtained, an image of a person’s fingerprint and to find match for it in the database.

fingerprint scanner

So we have four types of fingerprint scanners which are:

  • optical scanner
  • capacitive scanner
  • ultrasonic scanner
  • thermal scanner

Ridges and valleys:

So now we have to know what are ridges and valleys in fingerprint, so ridges are the curved lines and the valleys is the area between these curved lines which is ridges.

fingerprint scanner

Optical scanner:

So first is optical scanner it takes a visual image of a fingerprint using a digital camera capacitive or CMOS scanner the full form of CMOS is complementary metal oxide semiconductor scanners. So it uses capacitors that mean it uses electrical current to form an image of fingerprint. It stores the ridges and valleys in its data base and when again we enter our finger print it will compare it with the already store image store in the database and unlock the mobile or security system.

fingerprint scanner

This scanner is similar like mobile phone camera but it takes high resolution and contrast images. As we know that when we place our finger on camera it become dark but this sensor consists of led lights which acts as flesh light. At the other side we have image sensor which is CCD or CMOS due to which we will get 2D image of the finger.

Ultrasonic finger print scanner:

 It uses high frequency sound waves to penetrate the outer layer of skin.This is the latest sensing technology which works only with the OLED display. Its hardware consists of transmitter and receiver. An ultrasonic pulse will transfer when we will place our finger in which some pulses will be absorbed and some will bounce back which depends on the ridges and valleys of our finger. It calculates the frequency of the bounce back pulse and it is impossible to hack it because it takes 3d image.

Thermal fingerprint Scanner:

The thermal scanner so as the name says it sends the temperature differences on contact surface in between fingerprint ridges and valleys. This technology is not used in the mobile phones. In this type of sensor we have to linearly move our finger on the narrow array of the sensor. It is small in size and the movement of the finger is necessary in this type of sensor.

Optical VS Ultrasonic Scanner:

Optical and ultrasonic scanner at the surface tip function the same but underneath both system and protection are dramatically different in terms of unlocking. The workings of both sensors are same but the function behind it is entirely different the optical sensor captures the fingerprints 2D image during setup and it stores the data on the device. The screen lights up to eliminate the fingerprint when you press the screen to authenticate your identity. The image of your screen is taken by a tiny camera behind the display and then compared to the recorded image. The ultrasonic fingerprint scanner as its name suggests uses very high-frequency sound the waves are used to map users fingerprint data. The complete kit contains a transmitter as well as receiver therefore some of the pressure of the pulse is absorbed as users can see finger on the glass and some of it bounces back to the sensor. It is composed of ridges pores and other features special to each fingerprint mechanical stress can be measured by the sensor to measure the strength of the returning ultrasonic pulse at various points on the scanner resulting in a highly detailed 3d reproduction of the scan fingerprint. This data is used to match with the existing fingerprint data on the device.

Speed and accuracy:

First let us admit the fact these in display fingerprint scanners lag behind their physical counterparts which are mostly found at the device back, the ultrasonic ones have upper edge when contrasting the two side-by-side the optical fingerprint scanner need to produce an accurate 2D fingerprint image as a result more pressing is expected on display than normal. This is not disappointing but coming from a physical scanner it might feel slow. Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner needs only fingerprint pulse data and therefore only a slight touch is needed to validate the device identity Qualcomm claims there is a 250 milliseconds delay to activate easily covered by capacitive fingerprint scanners the optical one could get hit and miss for some when it comes to accuracy. The user may have pressed less or more and the camera may have failed to create a detailed image to unlock the handset often the scanner does not operate with wet fingers because the reproduce 2d image will not be as accurate with the moisture on it. The ultrasonic scanner is little more powerful it fits very well with wet fingers Qualcomm claims that this sensor has an error rate of around 1% which is perfectly acceptable with today’s standards.


The optical scanner uses a 2d fingerprint image to authenticate the user this does raise security issues as you can do without a lot of effort. The ultrasonic only confirms the user with the detailed 3d model of the fingerprint which is based on pulse, ridges and pores. It is s secure s phase ID the synaptic manufactures the optical in display fingerprint scanners that are used on Oppo and VIVO products.

Qualcomm manufactures the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner this scanner is officially known as the sense ID and supports its smartphone running is Snapdragon 855 as an option. If the manufacturer wants to include additional hardware Qualcomm’s configuration is also planned to support the Alliance protocols for fast identity online.

So with evolution of smartphones the evolution of fingerprint scanner can also be seen like from physical fingerprint scanner to in-display fingerprint scanner. Physical fingerprint scanner can be rear front or side mounted on your smartphone but front physical fingerprint scanner can minimize your viewing experience. So to enhance it complaints introduce and display fingerprint scanner these in display. Fingerprint scanner use tiny camera under the screen that takes image of your fingerprint and then compared it with stored image in the database and display fingerprint can be optical or ultrasonic.

Most of the in display scanners we have seen so far are optical scanners. In comparison to optical scanner, ultrasonic sensor can work better with messy fingers even if when hands are wet or oily but till now there is no option in in display. Fingerprint scanner like you can touch anywhere in your screen to unlock your smartphone. Qualcomm is the first to introduce the world first 3D ultrasonic and display fingerprint sensor and the first phone to use this was of Samsung flagship series which is galaxy S10 and S10 plus.

Amazon Links:

Eikon Mini

Authentrend NANO

Mini USB FingerPrint Reader

Kensington Verimark

Verifi P5100

*Please Note: These are affiliate links. I may make a commission if you buy the components through these links. I would appreciate your support in this way!

Top fingerprint scanners:

Eikon Mini:

The Eikon Mini enables fast and convenient windows login by remembering your windows password for you. It is the smallest fingerprint reader on the market measuring only 28 by 20 by 15millimeters unlike traditional USB fingerprint readers that come with long USB cables and are meant to remain on your desktop. This reader is designed specifically for laptops and tablets slips that this mini reader can stay plugged in all the time also it works with the new Microsoft Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 with no additional software to install besides it quickly launches one or multiple websites locks and unlocks your files and folders and protects your PC from unauthorized access.

fingerprint scanner

Authentrend NANO:

The authentrend comes with a built-in smart learning algorithm and 360 degree instant touch providing you with fast and accurate recognition. It is equipped with an extremely precise scanner with far and FRR rates that prevent almost all errors also it support multiple fingers and various users are allowed for maximum convenience besides it offers the latest scanning technology that uses an algorithm to track your fingerprint analysis and process it faster and faster every time you log in. Moreover it as optional Omni pass software to manage passwords access files and folders even on windows 7/8 8.1. Another advantage is that with the optional lock on lock feature you can enjoy instant and uncomplicated logins through the biometric scanner and the password login option will be permanently disabled.

fingerprint scanner

Mini USB Fingerprint Reader:

The mini-usb fingerprint reader has a unique website login function and featured file encryption lock your files in one easy step is designed for Windows 7, 8, and 10 allow fingerprint password secures your data without the need to remember a complex password also it features AI biological detection breath sensing and high precision algorithm to detect forged fingerprints besides you may set up to 10 fingerprint IDs and for every fingerprint ID account one can set up multiple prints as IDs. Moreover it comes with an ultra small 4 by 10 millimeter sensor with only 8 by 8 by 16 millimeter dimensions exposed when plugged into your laptop you can enjoy your fingerprint safeguard anytime and anywhere. Another advantage is that it has a smooth and prompt way to access the file lock function my lock e protects all files with your fingerprint on the other hand you can lock and unlock multi files at once

fingerprint scanner

Kensington Verimark:

The Kensington Verimark comes with an advanced fingerprint technology that combines superior biometric performance and 360 degree readability as well as anti-spoofing protection. It offers a compact design that easily attaches to a standard key ring for convenient portability also it is equipped with Fido u2f certification which ensures seamless interoperability and meets second factor security key login requirements for cloud-based services and software providers besides it provides Verimark password manager which offers a fully secured password bank that allows the fingerprint to authenticate and automatically fill in usernames and passwords for websites logins and file encryption / decryption.

fingerprint scanner

Verifi P5100:

It comes packed in a high resolution feature with more than 500 dpi resolution and eight bits of greyscale imaging; it offers a solid aluminium build with commercial-grade powder coat exterior providing adequate protection against scratch and occasional mishandling also it can withstand parasitic effects then passive capacitive sensing enabling it to ensure a high signal-to-noise ratio which allows it to capture fingerprints from various skin types. Besides it possesses a large area sensor with an active sensing area of 12.8 millimeters by 18 millimeters. Moreover it can obtain a large amount of fingerprint and minutiae data needed to perform solid one-to-one verification and one to end identification.

fingerprint scanner

Engr Fahad

My name is Shahzada Fahad and I am an Electrical Engineer. I have been doing Job in UAE as a site engineer in an Electrical Construction Company. Currently, I am running my own YouTube channel "Electronic Clinic", and managing this Website. My Hobbies are * Watching Movies * Music * Martial Arts * Photography * Travelling * Make Sketches and so on...

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