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Electronic Design

Fingerprint Recognition Gets Thinner And Easier To Integrate

Industry and legal authorities alike accept biometric authentication as an identification technology. It's easy to use, and more importantly, it's getting easier to integrate it into embedded systems. Two examples of this technology, Ethentica's TactileSense T-FPM module and Veridicom's FPS200 chip, were showcased at Comdex 2000.

The TactileSense T-FPM makes use of a pol-ymer-based sensor to recognize a finger's print and electrical field (see the figure). This prevents aliasing via a latent image or a fingerprint replica. Also, its four-level power-management system has a snooze mode, capable of finger detection, that consumes an average of 12 mA. The module's operating temperature ranges from 0°C to 50°C. Measuring only 5.32 mm high, it weighs just 0.6 oz. Its active image area measures 0.77 by 0.56 in. with a 403-dot/in. resolution. This 2.62- by 1.57-in. device contains a microprocessor for recognition tasks and interfaces to other devices using a serial link or a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection as well.

Prices range from $20 to $30 each, de-pending on quantity. A TactileSense T-FPM de-velopment kit, which costs $399, includes two sensor modules as well as extra hardware and software.

Meanwhile, the FPS200 fingerprint sensor's ImageSeek technology provides accurate readings even when fingers are wet. This 1.4-mm high sensor has an active image area of 12.8 by 15 mm with 500-dot/in. resolution. It integrates a microcontroller, an 8-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC), and USB, MCU, and SPI mode communications. A multilevel power-management system supports an automatic finger-detect mode. Operating current is 35 mA, and its standby mode uses only 0.2 mA. While the FPS200 extracts positional fingerprint information for recognition, it does not store the image of the fingerprint itself.

The FPS200 developer's kit includes the 5thSense Personal Authenticator Peripheral, which incorporates an FPS200. Five FPS200 fingerprint sensors are included, along with development software, documentation, and additional hardware.

Pricing information for the FPS200 and the Developer's Kit is available from the company.

Ethentica Inc., 100 North Pointe Dr., Lake Forest, CA 92630; (949) 837-5353; fax (949) 837-5355;

Veridicom Inc., 2040 Martin Ave., Santa Clara, CA 95050; (408) 565-6000; fax (408) 565-6020;

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