New Tamper-Proof ID Tag Developed by MIT

New Tamper-Proof ID Tag Developed by MIT

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MIT developers invent new tamper-proof ID tag that provides cheap and secure authentication – a cryptographic chip that is smaller and cheaper than RFID tags.

RFID tags are commonly used to verify the authenticity of products, but they are large, expensive, and vulnerable to counterfeiting. A team of MIT engineers came up with a solution and developed a new type of ID tag that does not have these limitations.

According to Interesting Engineering, the new tag was created by using terahertz waves that are smaller and faster than radio waves. The tag offers improved security thanks to the unique pattern of metal particles in the glue that attaches the tag to the item, like a fingerprint. This method ensures that the authentication system will detect instances in which someone peels off the tag and sticks it onto a fake item.

This antitampering feature leverages the properties of terahertz waves – electromagnetic waves that have a higher bandwidth, higher resolution, and lower power consumption than radio waves, as well as the ability to penetrate through materials that block other wave types.

In order to know when a tag was tampered with, there needs to be a system with all the untampered “fingerprints”, or patterns. To do so, the researchers turned to the help of AI – it was very difficult and time-consuming to take precise measurements to determine whether two glue patterns matched, so they trained a machine-learning model to compare glue patterns and calculate their similarity with more than 99% accuracy.

However, this innovation still has some drawbacks. Terahertz waves suffer from high loss levels during transmission, so the sensor can only be about 4 centimeters from the tag to get an accurate reading, which could prove problematic for some potential uses. Furthermore, the angle between the sensor and tag must be less than 10 degrees, or the terahertz signal will degrade too much.

Nevertheless, the researchers are hopeful and express their intentions to address these limitations in future work and improve the product.