US Military Biomimetic Tagging Preventing Electronic Counterfeits

By: | May 7th, 2013

The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and Army Research Office (ARO) have announced the development of optical scanning technology that will be able to identify counterfeit electronic components. The technology is hoped to prevent any bogus army materiel.

ARO first began exploring the possibilities of DNA as a tagging and tracking method, to aid the tracking of the use of counterfeit materiel that do not have barcodes or external tags.

The development, which looks much like a small chip uses a DKET system to analyse the surface of equipment to gauge its authenticity.

US tech company ChromoLogic were hired to address this problem. They developed a tag with a biomimetic barcode that can be “aligned in the proper order and decoded by an optical reader”. This is quite similar to technology that reads a sequence of DNA molecules.

“This biomimetic tag and reader system has robust information-storage capabilities that are unambiguous and readily authenticated, with no reagent or material exchange between the tag and reader,” according to a statement released by ARL and ARO.

Counterfeit equipment has posed an issue for the US army in the past, which causes a whole host of risks according to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Senator Carl Levin, stating that the “flood of counterfeit parts, overwhelmingly from China, threatens national security, the safety of our troops, and American jobs.”

ChromoLogic, who are continuing the development of the technology is based in California, describes itself as “a pioneer in next generation diagnostic technology focusing on critical problems in both physical and biological systems”.

Jonathan Keane

Irish journalist writing on business, tech and engineering.


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