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March 26th, 2009

Ceramics (MEMS) gets fingered

Published on March 26th, 2009 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Apparently ceramics innovations can keep you on your toes – and keep track of your fingers. Florida-based Sonavation Inc. recently announced what they claim to be “the biometrics industry’s thinnest, most durable and highly accurate fingerprint sensor for the wireless and smartcard markets.”

The sensor, dubbed the SonicSlide STS3000 (not to be confused with the infamous MST3000) is based on a ceramic MEMS piezoelectric transducer array. According to Sonavation, the 3 mm array is formed by pillars, “each one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. The pillars have a unique set of properties that enable them to mechanically oscillate when an electric field is applied. The oscillations then register in 256 shades of gray to form the images of ridges and valleys of the fingerprint.”

The entire set of components has been reduced to a single unit 35 mm in length by 14.5 mm wide with a thickness of only 0.25 mm

The company says that a big advantage of their system is that since it’s not a semiconductor, there are no problems associated with electrostatic discharge that have reportedly impaired the use of semiconductor-based sensors in personal electronics such as laptops and mobile phones.

According to its manufacturer, the STS3000 is capable of withstanding more than 10 million swipes and uses less power than comparable system, and uses an ultrasound system that supposedly provides greater accuracy of fingerprint images than available through DC or RF capacitive silicon sensors


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