New ultrasonic sensors can improve security of fingerprint recognition on smartphones

EE Prof. Bernhard Boser is profiled in an article in the Cal Aggie titled "Fingerprint recognition on smartphones unsafe and hackable" in which he discusses a new ultrasonic imaging process developed at UC Berkeley and UC Davis to more securely protect personal information than current finger recognition technologies.  This new technology, which combines an ultrasonic sensor in air and an ultrasonic sensor in tissue, captures a fingerprint in 3D to uniquely identify a person.  It images both the ridges and valleys of a fingerprint surface as well as the subsurface structure of the skin,  distinguishing between layers of tissue by analyzing the densities of live and dead skin cells.  "This imaging process can look at the surface of fingerprints and inside the finger,” Boser said. “There are more patterns inside the finger that can’t be put onto glass screen of a phone.”