Norwegian fingerprint sensor firm NEXT Biometrics has announced the launch of a fingerprint area sensor module aimed at physical access control, time and attendance, portable hard drives, smart card readers, safety boxes and voting machines.The firm said that the NB-1011-S fingerprint area sensor offers a significantly larger active sensing area than its rivals, and that it has a smaller form factor.NEXT Biometrics CEO Tore Etholm-Idsøe said, “We have now shrunk the total module size of our 12×17 millimeter-sized sensor. The new NEXT NB-1011-S module matches the module dimensions of existing high-cost solutions. This allows fast and cost efficient implementation of our module in already existing market devices.”Etholm-Idsøe added, “Furthermore, the new NEXT Biometrics NB-1011-S fingerprint area sensor module offers a 201-square-millimeter active sensing area, compared with less than 150 square millimeters for the relevant competitors, giving the NEXT sensor significantly better overall performance.”In January, Next Biometrics said the number of orders it has received for fingerprint from new potential markets underlines the broadening interest in the sector, crediting the “Apple effect”.In that month alone, six new players placed orders for NEXT sensors to be integrated in new small mass market product formats.The products included payment-, home- and smartphone-related devices, with the customers ordering SDK's and sensor samples as part of their product development process.