iPhone 5S’ Touch ID recognizes fingerprints to unlock the phone, making it quite impossible for thieves to runaway with the phone and make any use of it, let alone sell it. But, if you thought a simple hack to that would be to severe the associated finger, know that, that too won’t work. Touch ID is cool like that.
I am not sure why anyone felt it necessary for a clarification, but CTO of Validity Sensors Sebastien Taveau explains that the “[RF capacitive sensor] technology is built in a way that the [fingerprint] image has to be taken from a live finger. No one in biometrics wants to talk about cut fingers and dead bodies, but at the end of the day we are still asked to remove the fears of consumer and make sure that they understand that [a severed finger] will not work.”
Taveau added that technology like Touch ID isn’t particularly new, but “the big difference is that they made it cool. It’s been around on laptops, but besides locking and unlocking your laptop there was not much of a use case for it. Now with Apple, by actually building an experience, they are educating the market, which is very important.”