Sonavation Fingerprint Sensors Within Gorilla Glass Aim to Kill the Home Button

Earlier this year, Apple patented technology that embeds the Home button and the built-in fingerprint sensor into the iPhone’s display. We know Apple: it patents technology that we may not see implemented, but this would be a neat feature for forthcoming handsets. Today, that became closer to reality as a company called Sonavation announced technology that can bond fingerprint sensors under Gorilla Glass.

Given that Gorilla Glass is used by Apple and many other smartphone manufacturers, this announcement represents high interest for every company building fingerprint sensors into its handsets. As reported by The Next Web, the technology includes manufacturing and bonding sensors directly to the display material.


What Sonavation managed to do is bond a biometric 3D sensor that uses ultrasound to map the fingerprint placed on it. By comparison, the Touch ID currently found in the iPhone 5s and above has a sensor that uses advanced capacitive touch to take high-resolution images of small sections of the user’s fingerprint from the subepidermal layers of the skin.

According to Sonavation’s CTO Rainer Schmitt, their technology is “well-suited for through-the-glass fingerprinting and specifically architected to deliver advanced security and ease-of-integration into mobile and IoT devices.”

Though details on how it will work are sparse, Sonavation says its sensors are “capable of capturing fingerprint data into the ridges and valleys.” It also says 3D scanning can take place if a finger is wet, dirty or oily — all without compromising accuracy.

What the small company announced today is just the first step toward a convenient way of securing the data we store on our phones. It will be interesting to see when this technology will be available on smartphones or tablets.

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  • That probably means the price to repair a broken screen is going to increase by a fair amount.

  • Stefan

    I don’t think apple would take a step back and implement this type of sensor. The problem with it is that you have to swipe your finger. I think that sucks. Samsung used it and we all know that it did not really work properly.

    Apple usually is not first to implement new stuff but when they do implement something it is flawless and then it becomes mainstream. It is to early for tech like this ATM. We will have to wait for at least a few more years for this tech to be really ready for mass adoption.

  • Tim

    This is not only “neat”, it’s necessary. There is 3/4 of an inch of wasted space on the bottom of my iPhone. Imagine a 6 inch screen with far less bloat everywhere else. Suddenly it feels more like an iPhone 5 without compromising screen size.