Electronic Design

DNA In Your Gadgets?

Want to make sure nobody steals your favorite gadget? Slap some DataDNA on it.

We all know how DNA technology has revolutionized forensics as the unique identifier for organic life. Now here comes DNA technology for automobiles, motorcycles, marine equipment, clothing, laptops, building materials, packaging, industrial goods, construction equipment, etc.

DataDot Technology Ltd. in Sydney, Australia has invented a technology that laser-etches unique microscopic information with multiple lines of code. In other words, the technology tags whatever you want with virtually undetectable tracing data. DataDotDNA can be used in a anything from from vehicle identification numbers (VINs) to computer-generated personal-identification numbers (PINs), to names, serial numbers or manufacturing information. The traceable information consists of 1-mm discs made of a polymer substrate, resembling grains of sand. The material, which is invisible to the naked eye (but can be viewed under an alternate light source like UV light and an ordinary microscope) can also be brushed on, sprayed on, glued on with a special adhesive, or stenciled onto just about any stolen metallic property.

DataDotDNA’s code is unique to each registered asset. The code is stored in the company’s worldwide online verification database called DataBaseDNA. It can simply be brushed on any asset and stay there for the life of that asset. For large assets like motor vehicles, DataDotDNA can be sprayed on using a patented DataDotDot process which can spray a complete car in less than a minute. A car can be fitted with 1000 to 10,000 DNA discs, most often applied at the place of assembly, importation facility, or even at the dealership. In some instances like the manufacture of a car, the DNA can carry the full VIN (see the figure).

DataDot has developed an off-line version of a fully automated robotic spraying system, now operating in the largest vehicle import center in Australia, that applies DNA onto automobiles after final assembly. Demonstrations have also been performed by large automakers like BMW, Audi, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, and Volkswagon, using DataDotDNA as a way of ensuring identification of vehicles and their expensive constituent parts.

“The technology offers a dual benefit of theft tracing and theft deterrence of stolen assets,” explains Brent McLaws head of R&D. “With many unique DNA dots invisible to the human eye in many different locations on an asset, thieves would be deterred from their actions because they can’t be sure that all DNA dots have been discovered, even assuming that the robbers can use an alternate light source and microscope. Moreover, they cannot remove these markers even if they find them because DataDotDNA markers bond on the items they’re applied to and are resistant to solvents and acids.” Once DNA discs are incorporated into an item, they can withstand temperatures up to 1200°C and have been proven to work on tagged explosives even after they explode.

The concept of DataDotDNA was developed knowing that most law-enforcement agencies have ready access to items like alternate light sources and conventional microscopes. In addition, they can be notified by the company about instances where thefts are discovered by the asset owners. All vehicles and motorcycles marked with DataDotDNA are registered in North America’s National Insurance Crime Bureau/Insurance Services Office (NICB/ISO) for immediate access by law-enforcement agencies and insurance investigators across North America.

Major law-enforcement agencies worldwide have endorsed the technology as a cutting-edge means to track stolen items and assist in their recovery. Some of those agencies include The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Britain’s New Scotland Yard and many U.S. Crime Prevention and Property Agencies.

With unlimited possibilities, DataDot has decided to hone in on three key market segements. These include high-security solutions, industry solutions, and bulk-material solutions. The company’s high-security solutions target companies that need or offer a high degree of security for items such as confidential documents and tax stamps. DataDotDNA is also for industries that exhibit a high degree of vertical integration across product development and distribution. Lastly, the technology can be used in bulk industries like concrete, polymers, paints and explosives.

For more information, go to www.datadotdna.com.

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