Ambiq teams for low power biometric security

August 24, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Ambiq teams for low power biometric security
Chinese biometric firm Feitian is using the Apollo3 sub-threshold microcontroller from Ambiq Micro for fingerprint payment cards and password-free authentication

Low power processor developer Ambiq Micro has teamed up with a Chinese biometric supplier on fingerprint cards that can reduce the spread of Covid-19.

The deal with Feitian will see hardware integration of the Apollo3 Blue Thin sub-threshold microcontroller for biometric cards and an OTP (one-time password) display card, as well as FIDO (fast ID online) devices for cybersecurity and logical access.

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, governments and enterprises worldwide are looking for viable and reliable ways to help implement contact tracing and social distancing, and fingerprint biometrics and wireless payment are seen as key technologies to reduce the spread of the virus says Ambiq. Chip suppliers are positioning themselves to take advantage of this.

"Feitian is pleased to partner with Ambiq to continue advocating safety and security in today’s climate,” said Yan Yan, Vice President at Feitian. “Ambiq’s Apollo MCU family demonstrated its technological advances in ultra-low power consumption and ideal performance that exceeds our expectation.”  

"Ambiq is proud to partner with Feitian in empowering its latest biometric solutions to help provide a safe and secure environment post COVID,” said Aaron Grassian, Vice President of Sales at Ambiq. "The Apollo family of MCU and BLE-enabled processors leads the market in energy efficiency and user experience.”

The Apollo controller runs the fingerprint verification process on Feitian’s biometric payment card, which became the first card in the world to achieve certification by UnionPay. The controller uses Ambiq’s patented Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT) platform, with 1MB of flash and 10 uA/MHz efficiency, to securely store the reference data in the card and quickly activate the fingerprint verification when the card is in use. The entire operation is run by drawing power from the POS (point-of-sale) machine’s magnetic induction.

The controller is 300µm thick in a CSP package with a backside coating to prevent light interference, and enables Feitian’s OTP Token


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