Goodix wins big at CES for Live Finger Detection sensor that reads your heartbeat, too
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The front-facing biometric sensor made by Goodix for the Meizu PRo6 Plus. Image Credit: Goodix

The front-facing biometric sensor made by Goodix for the Meizu PRo6 Plus. Image Credit: Goodix

The company has a lot of established partnerships as a chip maker, including with LG, and hopes to turn more of these relationships towards its biometric tech

While Wired has suggested that our heartbeats may soon be our only necessary passwords, we’re still a ways off from that being the case. However, it is now the case that our heartbeat can be brought into other biometric security applications, namely fingerprint sensors. To prevent spoofing, next generation, under the glass sensors need to be able to tell – just like in the movies – when living flesh is pressed up against them, and not some print out or plaster model.

(Lifting prints off a surface, in fact, is much less efficient than doing so with a 2D method involving conductive ink and paper.)

Goodix, or Shenzhen Huiding Technology Co. Ltd., a Chinese chipmaker founded in 1980, is branching out from its original chip manufacturing business to develop those solutions for smartphones and mobile payment solutions. Its Live Finger Detection (LFD) sensor won it the Embedded Technology award at CES, the first such Chinese company to do so. It has ideas for other consumer electronic devices as well down the line, such as smart home devices like doors, or smart cars.

“So far, the adoption of fingerprint scanning is the most mature and widely implemented in mobile devices – we feel is the best combination of both security and user experience,” Goodix Founder and CEO, David Zhang, tells Geektime.

The new LG Stylus 3 will include Live Finger Detection sensors. Image Credit: Goodix

The new LG Stylus 3 will include Live Finger Detection sensors. Image Credit: Goodix

Basically, this would be adding another unique bio-electric signature to the sensor suite, on top of those created by the ridges and valleys of our individual fingerprints. “Just like the PIN passcode before it,” according to CTO Dr. Bo Pi, “the application of fingerprint authentication on mobile devices has become the market norm.”

The company, which went public in October with $127 million, unveiled a new partnership with LG at CES this past week, for rear-mounted fingerprint scanners on the K10 and Stylus 3 smartphones. Its biometric platform on the Meizu PRO 6 Plus, Gionee M2017, and ZTE AXON7 Max smartphones combines a capacitive fingerprint sensor with an optical one “to both scan the fingerprint for a match and to measure the blood flow and heartbeat to detect the liveness of a fingerprint,” says Zhang.

The rear-facing biometric sensor made by Goodix for the ZTE AXON7 Max. Image Credit: Goodix

The rear-facing biometric sensor made by Goodix for the ZTE AXON7 Max. Image Credit: Goodix

The package also includes a 3D capacitive fingerprint-matching algorithm that can tell apart spoofs from living tissue. The LFD technology is also used by China UnionPay, a major ATM consortium, alongside the aforementioned OEMs. UnionPay is their first major financial client, and the technology is likely to develop well in this sector due to users’ growing preference for mobile payments, but concerns remain about the security of the apps used to manage their money on the devices.

Goodix will be following up from CES with new announcements about its products and partners at the Mobile World Congress, running February 27 to March 2 in Barcelona. Though it is not set in stone, the company is reportedly in talks with Amazon, which it already supplies microchips to for tablets, to offer sensors on future iterations of these devices. According to Zhang, “We believe that Goodix will be entering into more partnerships with top-tier international brands in the near future.”

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