Thursday, August 17, 2006

Designer Chemical Signatures to replace RFID

Israeli company CrossID has devised a way to put a chemical signature into fabrics, labels, inks, boxes and other materials. When a scanner is pointed at an item, the chemical signature--which includes several hundred designer molecules--serves as an ID for the item.
The diagram shows how it works. Electromagnetic energy is directed at the top of the letter "C" embossed on a hypothetical product that has been sprayed with CrossID chemicals. Signals bouncing back tell what chemicals from CrossID's cookbook are missing and which are present. The signals then get translated to 1s and 0s and fed into a computer as an ID.
"The pattern (of the chemicals) is not important. What is important is their presence or absence," said CrossID CEO Moshe Glickstein. "We even talked to a professor who said it would be difficult and time-consuming to come up with forgeries."
As more retailers adopt the approach to combat counterfeiting, the technology could eventually be used as a cheap substitute for radio frequency identification tags, Glickstein said. Putting a chemical signature in an item will cost a fraction of a cent. RFID tags are still priced way above the idealized 5 cent mark, he noted.


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