February 25, 2003

Alliance Agreement on Development and Mass Production of
Fingerprint Scanner for Mobile Devices

Newly Developed "Rolling-Tube Head" Scanner with All Component Parts Built-In

CASIO Computer Co., Ltd.

 ALPS Electric Co., Ltd. (Headquarters, Ota Ward, Tokyo; President, Masataka Kataoka)and CASIO Computer Co., Ltd. (Headquarters, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo; President, Kazuo Kashio) have formed a business alliance to develop, manufacture, and market a high-precision, rolling-tube head scanner for incorporation into mobile telephones and other mobile devices.

 The market for fingerprint verification devices is forecasted to grow rapidly, reaching JPY6 billion in 2003 and JPY12 billion by 2007 (Fuji Chimera Research Institute study, excluding mobile-telephone use). However, there have still been some unresolved technological issues. For instance, existing line scanners give a distorted fingerprint image when they follow the contour of a finger. In addition, while an area scanner can give a distortion-free fingerprint image, the problems involved with both its miniaturization and the cost of the units make existing scanners a less-than-optimal solution for incorporation into mobile phones, PDAs, and other small devices.

 The newly developed rolling-tube head optical scanner overcomes the drawbacks of previously existing devices, and when installed in mobile devices offers a wide range of functions, including fingerprint and text scanning.
  • Use of the rolling-tube head scanner allows distortion-free scanning.
    Because the interface between the device and the fingertip, or other object to be scanned, is the surface of the roller, it is possible to maintain steady pressure while scanning. This results in precise, distortion-free scanning.
  • It is a subminiature device that can easily be incorporated into mobile telephones.
    Miniaturization of the device is achieved by mounting the scanner sensor , the optical lens, and the light source inside the roller using high-density mounting technology. Integration also contributes to lower costs.
  • The use of optical technology produces both high reliability and high-resolution scanning.
  • CASIO's proprietary high-reliability fingerprint authentication algorithm, VeriPat(R), is also available.
 Under the terms of this business alliance, CASIO is developing both the basic configuration of the device (20 related patents have been applied for) and the software. ALPS is developing the mechanism using its expertise in microfabrication technology, accumulated in the production of optical lenses, as well as high-density mounting and precision-design technologies. ALPS will also mass-produce the device. Having cooperated in the development and production of this device, the two companies will jointly market it for use in mobile telephones and other mobile devices, as well as in PCs, digital cameras and other IT devices, and in components for home electronic appliances.

 The rolling-tube head scanner is scheduled to commence shipping in October 2003. With both companies marketing the device, sales goals are JPY2 billion for fiscal 2004 and JPY4 billion in fiscal 2005.

Configuration of the hollow rolling-tube head scanner

Size 6mmų x 15mmL
Resolution 24ppmm (600ppi)*
Color depth 256 (8-bit) monochrome
Scanning speed 200mm/s
Image size 288W x 310H (89,280pixels)**

* ppmm pixels per millimeter (international standard notation)
  ppi ppi pixels per inch
**   Reference value for fingerprint scanning