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Veratag announced today a definitive agreement with Cornell Research Foundation, Inc to license the intellectual property surrounding the use of MEMS resonators for unique identification in radio frequency identification (RFID) and electronic lock and key systems. Like snowflakes, each MEMS resonator, called a MEMflake™, is unique, and produces a unique analog signal that is essentially irreproducible either by cloning or imitating the signal. These unclonable MEMflakes, therefore, provide a high level of security which is simple to use and cost effective.
MEMflakes combine two characteristics of MEMS resonators to ensure effective security. First, the natural production variation associated with the manufacture of MEMS devices means that identically manufactured resonators will produce slightly different analog signals. With sufficiently complex resonators, those signals have enough information in them to uniquely identify an almost unlimited number of unique devices. Because of the random nature of MEMflake production, the odds of cloning a particular MEMflake are less than 1 in a trillion trillion (i.e. 1 followed by 24 zeros). Secondly, MEMS resonator signals are fairly unique in terms of the sharpness, or quality, of their frequency peaks in high frequency ranges. They are so unique that duplicating some of the characteristics of MEMS resonators can realistically only be done using other MEMS resonators. In addition, MEMS resonators can be interrogated in a manner which can prove that they are, in fact, mechanical resonators and not other types of electronics trying to imitate that behavior. The combination of these two characteristics provides a high level of security via a unique unclonable signature.
With the addition of an antenna, MEMflakes can be used for RFID applications. In an RFID implementation, MEMflakes possess a number of advantageous features: a low energy requirement means MEMflakes can be put on passive tags; compatibility with other chip designs so other functionality can be paired with a MEMflake; fast read times for high throughput applications; a simplified backend that does not require a secure database, secure keys, or secure communications; and a small footprint allowing integration with existing RFID chip designs without significant additional costs.
"The combination of uniqueness and irreproducibility make MEMflakes truly special," said John Schnieter, CEO of Veratag. "But, the best part is that MEMflakes used in RFID implementations meet the various criteria necessary for a successful technology. We believe the RFID community is waiting for a simple, cost effective means to securely identify a given tag, and MEMflakes provide that."
"Veratag will initially focus on marketing our products for unique identification for applications such as access cards, smart cards, identity cards and passports, as well as anti-counterfeiting for pharmaceutical and other high end goods," he added.
"We are very pleased to see a team come together around this promising technology, one that has the experience and expertise to drive it into the marketplace," said Alan Paau, Vice Provost for Technology Transfer and Economic Development at Cornell University. "We look forward to working with this strong management team as they commercialize another exciting nanotechnology resulting from Cornell research."
Veratag’s mission is to change the cost-benefit equation for security by essentially creating electronic fingerprints which can be put onto chips and other electronics and used for identification and authentication in radio frequency identification (RFID) and electronic lock and key implementations. The basis of Veratag’s product offering is a micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) resonator, called a MEMflake, which produces unique analog signals that can be read by contact or contactless readers. Each MEMflake is unique, essentially unclonable, and its signal is irreproducible using other means.
About Cornell Research Foundation
Cornell Research Foundation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cornell University formed for the sole purpose of managing intellectual property that arises from research activities at the university to benefit the public and to advance the university’s land grant missions.
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Ted Eveleth, 518-331-1133
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