AuthenTec co-founder F. Scott Moody recently stopped by his alma mater to deliver a speech about the company he helped launch. His company was acquired by Apple last year and it’s their technology that is used in the Touch ID fingerprint authentication system on the iPhone 5s.
During his chat at North Carolina State University, Moody walked students through some of the early prototypes that eventually led to Touch ID. One system known as FingerLoc consisted of a box that is larger than the iPhone connected by ribbon cables to another box even larger than the first.
It was this prototype that Moody used when visiting with venture capitalists to explain his vision. He wanted to shrink the technology down and make it viable for use in smaller devices. It was rough going at first but they were eventually able to shrink the system down into a package that was suitable for consumer use. AuthenTec even worked with a number of dermatologists to help perfect the technology, Moody said.
Once a final product was ready, several companies came knocking including Apple, Fujitsu and Motorola. Apple in particular “ate it up,” Moody said, and eventually purchased the entire company for $356 million. AuthenTec had a solid team of engineers, he said, as evident by the fact that Apple kept the entire engineering team.
Moody said he never cared about government standards for fingerprint readers. Instead, he wanted to create a cheap method to identify users in an accurate way. He isn’t hooked on the tech, but rather what the tech can do for users.