NOVEMBER 26--Atmel Corporation (San Jose, CA; www.atmel.com/) has announced that the AT77C101B FingerChip biometric sensor has been selected by Hewlett-Packard to provide logon security for select models of the HP iPAQ Pocket PC h5400 Series. The Atmel FingerChip is a small solid-state fingerprint sensor. Integration of the FingerChip in the iPAQ provides users a more secure and convenient way to protect their information without the inconvenience of manually entering a password. In addition to security of the data in the iPAQ, future development tools will be available to allow software to be added to allow for positive fingerprint identification of a user in order to access a network, or certain selective files.
"The FingerChip allows for a low-cost, high-image-quality solution that can fit in products that were previously thought to be too small for integrated biometrics. This solution offers high security of your personal data without the inconvenience of remembering a password, ensuring that your information will be safe if your hand-held computer is lost or stolen," said Alain Jutant, Atmel Corporation director of imaging products.
Atmel designed the FingerChip to provide a cost-effective small form factor solution that will meet the demands of biometric security for space-constrained mobile applications. The FingerChip uses a unique patented method for imaging the entire finger by "sweeping" it across the sensor. Sweeping captures successive images (slices), then uses software to reconstruct the fingerprint. This method allows the FingerChip to return a large, high-quality, 500-dot/in. image of the fingerprint. This image is then processed through authentication software to extract a template, which is used for fingerprint comparison.
The FingerChip is a CMOS thermal fingerprint sensor with 0.4 x 14-mm scanning area and an overall package area of 26.6 x 9.8 mm with a height of 1.5 mm. The sensor measures the temperature differential between the skin ridges and the air caught in the fingerprint valleys. This method provides a high-quality image even on poor-quality fingerprints such as ones that are dry or worn with little depth between the peaks and valleys of the fingerprint. The thermal technology also operates well under extreme environmental conditions, such as high humidity, dirt, or oil and water contamination.
In addition to providing a small form factor, the sweeping method also has the side benefit of self-cleaning the sensor, thus avoiding latent fingerprints. Latent fingerprints are prints left behind on a nonsweeping sensor that not only can cause problems with future reads but also leaves an image that can be copied and possibly used to gain access to a system. In fact, the sweeping method utilizing thermal-based technology allows the FingerChip to be resistant to many methods used in fooling biometrics.