Biometric Verification applications in Finance, through Optical Sensors by OSRAM Opto Semiconductors

Biometric Verification applications in Finance, through Optical Sensors by OSRAM Opto Semiconductors

Mr. Chris Goeltner, Wearables Product Manager at Osram Opto Semiconductors, presented at the Wearable Technologies Conference in Hong Kong. The company, based in Regensburg, Germany, is the world’s second largest manufacturer of optoelectronic semiconductors. Goeltner started by introducing the company to the Hong Kong audience that it is a market leader across a diversified product portfolio and ranks number one in these sectors: Automotive, IR Components, Projection, and among top 6 in general Illumination.

So how do optical sensors advance mobile applications? Goeltner says there are 4 major areas (1) Biometric identification – which is related to Facial and Iris Recognition, (2) 3D Sensing – that includes Gesture Recognition, Objects Scanning, and Distance Sensing, (3) AR/VR – position tracking and eye tracking, and (4) Bio-Sensing – heart rate monitoring, SPO2, blood pressure, and spectroscopy.


The company employs signal processing algorithms with inputs from Integrated Sensors: light source from LEDs or lasers, and Photodiode cameras to generate the desired targeted results.

Biometric Identifications: Goeltner states that this is a capacitive solution, and is also the most common biometric identification, based on IR illumination integrating with anti-spoofing capabilities. Facial recognition – needless to say, requires a camera, together with IR illumination techniques, is based on a person’s unique facial structures and dimensions, and the security is quite high. Hand Veins – one of the most secured solution, is based on light absorption principle, is the most ideal solution, but unfortunately the technology is not yet compatible on mobile phones and is expected to become prevalent for the Fintech industry. Iris recognition – the most secured mobile solution, is based on unique patterns in everyone’s irises.

Undoubtedly these types of biometric identifications are useful for banks, ATMs, and payment companies. One notable and interesting biometric verification that Goeltner also discussed was the Gesture Control smartphone, which requires no-touch display to “wake up the phone”. The sensor detects swipe gestures, and allows the users to control the music player, looking at photo galleries, making phone calls or muting the volume etc. It is worth noting that the 850 nm LED provides better signal to noise ratio due to higher camera sensitivity at shorter wavelengths.

The key functionality in the application of VR/AR of these IR devices is the usage of IR LEDs, which are mounted around the lenses used for eye tracking. While the Proximity sensor detects whether the VR/AR device is on your face and would shut off the display in order to save power and processor resources. Photodiodes are used in headsets for precise orientation tracking, and IR lasers employ the use of light beacons to illuminate the users. This is fascinating as these Visible Lasers make near-to-eye projection for AR glasses.

Biometric verifications are expected to be widely adopted by Fintech. MemoryBank (U.S. Digital-Only Bank), a digital-only subdivision of incumbent Republic Bank & Trust Company provides biometric security to its consumers, including fingerprint and eye scans, push notifications, smartphone deposits, by uploading photos of checks, online bill payments, and P2P payments.

By integrating biometric authentication into payment processes, consumers are more likely to use digital payments as biometric data is relatively difficult to be replicated or stolen compared with PINs and Passwords. We look forward to seeing more banks, ATMs, and payment companies adopting biometric verifications to reduce fraud and increase mobile payments adoption.


Fred Wong has over 10 years of experiences in the semiconductor industry, and has a love of Fintech, AI and smart programmable chips such as GPUs, TPUs, FPGAs.