Until recently most smartphones with fingerprint sensors used optical fingerprint recognition to let you login by placing your fingertip on a certain spot. But ultrasonic fingerprint sensors use sound waves instead, which allows them to be placed in a display rather than on the back or side of a phone.
Now Qualcomm has unveiled a new version of its 3D Sonic fingerprint sensor that the company says it 17 times larger than its predecessor. That means more of a phone’s screen can act as a fingerprint sensor, and it also enabled support for 2-finger authentication.
Increasing the size of the sensor leads to improved security in a few different ways.
The first is that the sensor can now scan your whole fingertip rather than just part part of it. The second is that if you use two fingers to login rather than one, it’ll be harder for someone to fake their way into your phone — not only would they have to match both of your prints, but they’d have to know which two fingers to use.
The new fingerprint sensor measures 20mm x 30mm or 0.8″ x 1.2″. While that might not sound that big, a typical smartphone fingerprint sensor is just 4mm x 9mm (0.2″ x 0.4″).
Qualcomm says the new sensor is also faster and more accurate than its predecessors.