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Graz University of Technology Researchers Develop Prototypes for Product Authentication

Styrian pumpkin-seed oil or cheap copy? When you choose a product, you want the quality you’ve paid for. But how can you test that what’s inside is what it says on the label?

The future of quality protection belongs to electronic components and so-called RFID tags. In the future, consumers will be able to test the authenticity of a product using their mobile phones. For this, all the data has to be electronically checked.

In the framework of the “Crypta” project supported by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), scientists from Graz University of Technology have now developed a prototype which safeguards objects according to new standards.

Whether for checking the origin of foodstuffs or as proof of authenticity of drugs, the future will bring an increased use of electronic assistants to make sure that the quality is right. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology enables objects to be identified wirelessly. “You need a reading device and an RFID tag which communicate with each other,” explains project leader Jörn-Marc Schmidt from the Institute of Applied Information Processing and Communications at Graz University of Technology. There is a difference between active and passive tags. The former are connected to a power source whereas the latter draw the required power directly from the field of the reading unit, which makes them particularly suitable, for instance, for applications in supermarkets.

Private Key

For a long time the same electronic keys were used for these energy-efficient passive tags and their readers – using what experts call symmetrical methods. “In asymmetrical methods, the transmitter and receiver possess different keys. Secure digital signatures are thus made possible,” adds Jörn-Marc Schmidt. Together with the semiconductor manufacturer austriamicrosystems and RF-iT Solutions GmbH, an RFID software and services provider from Graz, the researchers have now developed a prototype which uses a standard method for passive tags for the first time. “For every tag there is a public key and a private key which remains secret,” explains Jörn-Marc Schmidt. This is a development which could be made use of everywhere where proof of authenticity is important. The research results are the gratifying outcome of the Crypta research project of the FIT-IT funding line of the BMVIT, which supports application-oriented research in information technology in particular.

About austriamicrosystems

austriamicrosystems is a leading company in the development and production of high-performance analog ICs (integrated circuits) and combines almost 30 years of system know-how and experience in analog design with its own cutting edge production and test facilities. austriamicrosystems ' comprehensive expertise in low power consumption and high precision is manifest in industry-leading customer-specific and standard analog ICs. austriamicrosystems concentrates on the areas of power management, sensors and sensor interfaces and mobile infotainment in the consumer & communications, industry & medical and automotive markets. austriamicrosystems operates worldwide and has over 1,100 employees.

About RF-iT Solutions GmbH

RF-iT Solutions GmbH, as its name suggests, is a strong partner-oriented RFID-solutions provider. It offers a comprehensive range of outstanding and market-proven solution modules composed of hardware and software under the brand name detego® SUITE. The concept has proved itself in a number of installations in well-known companies. It has also managed to achieve a leading market position in particular in the fashion market segment. Apart from the module catalogue, the company also offers its partners sales support, technology consulting and development activities in the form of services. A development environment for independent developments is available for experienced partners in the form of detego® You-R OPEN. Further up-to-date information about the company and its detego® solution modules can be found on:

Dipl.-Inf. Dr.techn. Jörn-Marc Schmidt
Institute of Applied Information Processing and Communication Technology
Tel.: +43 (0) 316 873 5518

Alice Senarclens de Grancy | idw
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