Today Synaptics is introducing a new fingerprint sensor aimed at desktop PCs. Dubbed IronVeil this new sensor from Synaptics is designed for integration on high-end gaming mice. Although this sensor could be placed anywhere on the mouse the preproduction unit that Synaptics supplied us with positions the fingerprint sensor on the left side of the mouse just in front of where you thumb would normally rest. The advantage of having a fingerprint sensor integrated into your new gaming mouse is faster logins thanks to Windows 10’s built-in biometric authentication support and a password manager that will be bundled with the final devices.
In terms of raw specs Synaptics IronVeil uses a Universal Fingerprint Module that is a 4 by 10mm sensor with 1/50,000 false acceptance rate and a 3/100 false reject rate. It connects to the rest of the mouse via either USB or SPI is lit by an LED and comes in multiple colors. Synaptics says that it takes about 100ms for the reader to identify your fingerprint and then another 80ms for it to confirm a positive match and enter your credentials. In comparison to entering your password on a keyboard which takes 4 to 7 seconds using IronVeil is conservatively about 13 times faster.
Fingerprint readers have been around for a long time. The reason that Synaptics has chosen now to bring IronVeil to market is due to the growth of the FIDO standard for biometric authentication. FIDO support is built into Windows 10 through Microsoft Passport. It’s a standard that’s also supported by PayPal, Samsung, and Bank of America. Extensions are available for both Chrome and Firefox to support logins using Synaptics’ IronVeil and for application that don’t natively support biometric authentication Synaptics will be bundling password management software with devices that incorporate its IronVeil technology.
Looking towards the future Synaptics believes that with the availability of fingerprint readers on both phones and mice more applications will begin to natively support their usage. Some of the use cases that Synaptics highlighted included using its fingerprint reader as a form of two factor authentication and to verify in-game purchases.
Mice with Synaptics IronVeil technology will initially be high-end devices in the ~$80 price bracket. Because of the cost associated with integrating IronVeil into a mouse Synaptics believes that gamers are the only market segment capable of both appreciating the benefits biometrics has to offer and paying for it. We’ll have a long-term review of our test unit in a few weeks. In about two months time the first devices will hit the market and then we’ll know if Synaptics biometric foray into the gaming mouse market will nibble or bite.S|A