First 'unclonable' RFID chip debuts

What’s claimed to be the first ‘unclonable’ silicon RFID chip has been launched by US company Verayo. The Vera X512H RFID chip is based on Physical Unclonable Functions (PUF), a type of electronic DNA or fingerprinting technology for silicon chips.

PUFs can be implemented in different ways, but all PUF implementations provide a mechanism to extract the unique characteristics from the semiconductor ICs. Some PUF implementations use a challenge and response protocol to extract these ‘secrets’.

“Semiconductor manufacturing process has unavoidable variations – indeed, any circuit design, when fabricated in silicon, exhibits slightly different electrical behavior from one chip to the next, even though the design, mask, and fabrication are identical,” explains the company’s CEO Anant Agrawal. “PUFs are a class of simple, tiny, low-power circuit primitives that exploit these manufacturing process variations to uniquely characterize each and every IC.”

Verayo is introducing the Vera X512H at the RFID World conference in Las Vegas this week (ending 12 September 2008). This is an ISO 14443-A compatible chip, and in addition to PUF technology, it includes a 64-bit unique tag ID, and 512-bit one-time programmable memory.

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