Championing the under-glass: LG's new fingerprint scanner goes under the screen

LG finger module

The days of unsightly physical fingerprint readers on your shiny new smartphone are numbered, with LG Innotek today unveiling a new fingerprint module that sits seamlessly underneath a device's glass screen.

Given the growing importance of fingerprint sensors for both security and mobile payments through platforms like Apple Pay or Android Pay, the ability to do away with a separate physical button will allow manufacturers to offer the functionality without sacrificing design.

In order to accomplish the new tech, LG cut a small groove of just 0.3mm (0.01 inches) from the underside of the screen, in which it attached the fingerprint sensor using a new, custom adhesive.

Prime performance

Importantly, LG are keen to stress that the performance of the fingerprint reader isn't compromised by the sensor being under glass. In fact, they stress that the false acceptance rate is just 0.002%.

LG believes the benefits of hiding the sensor under the glass are many, but most significantly will allow manufacturers to create sleeker devices that can be waterproof or scratch-proof while still offering biometric security.

The announcement from LG Innotek doesn't mention when or where we'll start seeing the new sensor appear, though an LG spokesperson told the Korea Times that the company is in talks to commercialise the new technology with some handset manufacturers "within the year".

Having spent the past decade editing some of Australia's leading technology publications, Nick's passion for the latest gadgetry is matched only by his love of watching Australia beat England in the rugby.