The Nike Vaporfly shoes are so fast that every marathon record in last few years has been with Vaporfly

By Guido Bertocci, VP, Software Engineering

They are estimated to be more than 4% faster than other shoes. Even athletes sponsored by other companies are covering the logo and using them. No one wants to compete with a handicap of even of a few percent.

In mobile, smaller is better, has become the guiding principle for fingerprint sensors. In mobile, smaller makes a silicon sensor less expensive and it is easier for phone developers to place the sensor. People assume that smaller is better in cards as well. Not true. In cards this is exactly the opposite because it handicaps biometric performance.

TrustedBio is 250% larger than latest announced silicon sensor, 90 sq mm vs 36 sq mm. To visualize the difference, capture an image with TrustedBio and then delete 60%. For any biometric algorithm, the performance, FAR/FRR is better when more data is available. It’s like doing facial recognition with 60% of your face missing. To compensate, more complex algorithms are used. A mobile phone has more than a 1 GHz processor which can be more than 20 times faster than the 50-100 MHz processors on cards. An algorithm that executes in 50 to 100ms on a phone can take more than 2 seconds on a card. One should think of a small sensor as a biometric handicap.

While there is a lot of focus on fingerprint scan time, biometric algorithm developers understand that biometric processing can take 10 to 20 times longer than scan time. Achieving FAR/FRR targets for certification AND match time under 1 second is very challenging. Smaller sensors make this more difficult.

Card developers also recognize that enrollment is less user friendly with a small sensor. In mobile, users are asked to touch the sensor more than a dozen times. It takes many scans to capture the entire finger one small image at a time. Mobile uses the display to guide the user to “fill out the template” by changing the position of your finger. In cards there is no way to provide this feedback to the user.

One additional issue with small sensors is that a small 4 or 5mm misplacement of the finger, which we refer to as a “partial touch” can result in failure to match on a small sensor while a larger sensor has a higher probability of capturing sufficient data for a match. Eliminating user frustration is essential for the success of biometric cards.

As additional food for thought. Why are optical and ultrasonic sensors getting bigger? The answer, bigger provides a superior user experience.

In mobile, the handicap of a small sensor can be overcome with processing power and a big screen. In cards, this is much more difficult. Card developers prefer not being handicapped when striving to meet FAR/FRR, match time requirements as well as ensuring customer satisfaction.

This is one more reason why companies are selecting IDEX as a partner. Our partners are very knowledgeable and understand these technical challenges in great detail. They recognize the compelling benefits of TrustedBio, lower cost, larger sense area, available power management, and the ability to run biometric algorithms on the sensor.

The biometric card market is about to explode and TrustedBio will accelerate the adoption. Pilots with TrustedBio are expected in the next few months, with certifications and product ramps starting 1Q 2021.