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CNBC

A firm making fingerprint sensor that could fit on Apple’s next phones raises US$10 million

Vkansee offers higher resolution scans of a person’s finger compared to the current offerings out there

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 December, 2016, 3:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 December, 2016, 3:16pm

A start-up developing next-generation fingerprint technology which can sit under a screen and could potentially be used in rumoured upcoming smartphones from Apple and Samsung has raised US$10 million.

The majority of fingerprint sensors on offer today offer lower resolution scans of a person’s finger, according to Jason Chaikin, president of start-up Vkansee. Chaikin said that his start-up has created a sensor that can capture a higher resolution of a person’s fingerprint, making it harder to fool.

In February, Chaikin demonstrated to CNBC how a mould of his fingerprint in Play-Doh could be used to unlock an iPhone via the fingerprint sensor.

 

Chaikin explained that current solutions a person’s finger to be fairly close to the sensor, but because of the ability to capture higher resolution images, Vkansee’s module can be underneath glass.

“We are really looking to the next generation of technology, so we don’t just go underglass, but we are integrated into the display,” Chaikin told CNBC in a phone interview on Tuesday, ahead of the funding announcement.

The US$10 million has come from existing angel investors and other institutional investors, including Infotech Ventures, Yunnan Huizhong Fund, Shenzhen Qianhai Greatwall Fund and Superpix Micro Technology.

Chaikin said it will allow the company to commercialise the product. Next year, Vkansee is going to show off its fingerprint sensor integrated into a laptop from a “large maker”, but could not reveal who that is. Chaikin did however say that there were “no solid orders” for the product and added that Vkansee’s solution would cost “the same or a bit less” than current top line sensors.

Because Vkansee’s sensor can go underneath glass, it could potentially be attractive to companies like Samsung and Apple, if speculation about their upcoming smartphones turns out to be true. Several reports have suggested that the next iPhone slated for release next year, could have a face almost completely taken up by the display. Samsung’s next flagship – the Galaxy S8 – has also been rumoured to have an edge-to-edge screen.

Vkansee is not working with these companies currently.