The FingerChip project
The FingerChip project started end of 1995.
With the impulse of my boss Daniel, I proposed this crazy project to produce
a biometric (bio-what? at this time...) sensor in a Thomson-CSF unit (TMS) that was
absolutely not in that kind of business, under the form of a fingeprint sensor,
using the same technology than the uncooled infrared-camera
we were producing at this time, so a thermal-based fingerprint sensor.
And moreover, the proposed sensor shape was rather strange: it will look like
kind of little bar instead of a the regular square shape, and the user
will be obliged to swipe his/her finger over it! The idea was
too crazy at this time, and I got the authorization to create a regular square sensor
first, immediatly followed by a swipe-type, as described in the
So we started to promote and market the idea with some demonstrations, you can see that
in the History page. I have done myself some
promotion tools and weird things around this project:
as we got only some limited resource, everyone was making a lot of different things!
In 2000, Atmel bought the Thomson-CSF unit
where the FingerChip was designed and produced and became Atmel-Grenoble,
and the project got a strong impulse.
At this time, the first big projects involving a large number of pieces were starting,
and new interfaces, features, package types have been added, thus creating a whole
family of products.
In 2006, Atmel sold the Grenoble unit to E2V, but the FingerChip was out of the deal: the FingerChip project was transfered in a specific unit, Atmel-France. In 2008, Atmel decided to stop the biometric activity, and production was phased out in 2009.