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The Eclectic Pen - DNA Biometrics

By: Daniel K. (dannicy)  
Date Submitted: 8/24/2007
Genre: Computers & Technology » General
Words: 933

  DNA Biometrics

A key characteristic of a biometric access system is that it must operate in real time. An example could be a fingerprint scanner, which scans the fingerprint and compares the results, instantly, to a stored database of acceptable fingerprints. This should be contrasted to DNA testing. DNA is a unique biometric. However, real time analysis of DNA is not yet possible. Until this is feasible, there can be no DNA-based biometric access system. Many companies are researching the use of DNA as a real-time biometric. The use of human DNA as an identifier is a long way off, but the use of plant DNA is much easier and less controversial. The use of bio-chip cards as a means to identify individuals is not far off. There has been great progress in the study of plant DNA.

There are companies that are using the DNA tag from plants to mark their products for authentication. Everything from clothing to artwork can be tagged and later read with the simple swipe of a DNA marker.

The company at the forefront of the research and development is Bowell Industries. They have been working with many Taiwanese companies to research the use of Plant DNA in a bio-chip that is non-silicone based and can be used in a contact or non-contact reader. The are combining the bio-chips DNA and a unique electronic signal to accomplish the necessary outcome.

Computer and electronic signals constitute the basis for most corporate security systems. These systems are of similar function and design, and are susceptible to duplication, penetration and counterfeit. The polymorphism of DNA is significantly more complex than electronic signals, and better suited for security systems.

The DNA chip card is intended for both authentication of the card and identification of an individual. For that purpose, a specific DNA (group ID) is assigned to a set of DNA chip cards, along with an individualís identification information, which is recorded in the chipís memory. A reader module is configured to recognize (and therefore verify) only the chip carrying the correct group ID. The DNA chip card reader will reject any DNA chip card with different group ID, or indeed any other chip card.

The DNA chip uses botanical DNA, which is artificially re-constructed. Each user group has the same DNA code. Individuals are differentiated in the system by identification codes stored in the chip's memory. In addition, the DNA chip can be configured for the customer to have a particular personís own DNA as the source DNA for that user group. The DNA chip generates a unique signal and will not function properly if removed from the casing. The empty chip is not available anywhere else on the market, thus making it impossible to counterfeit.
Once the imbedded DNA chip becomes sabotaged or is removed the chip, it will cease functioning, thus preventing data on the chip from being duplicated.

The signal of a DNA chip is generated through an interaction between DNA and a specially devised mechanism known as a DNA chip reader. A real DNA chip will generate an analog signal upon receiving a signal from a card reader and send back an encoded signal to the reader after the chip is stimulated. An LCD display screen provides immediate authentication by reading the unique DNA signals embedded in the chip.

The DNA chip function is versatile, which allows it to be integrated into the form of slot reader, slide through reader, or contact point reader for instant authentication. Biowell has also developed a portable, lightweight, hand-held scanner that can be used to authenticate the DNA chips. The cost of the DNA chip, card, and reader system is comparable to existing smart card systems. Above all, the reader can be linked externally with existing card readers to save replacement costs.

The DNA encrypted microchip won the prize for Best New Technology for Security Access at the Conference of the Security Industry Association held in Washington DC in late 2004, in competition against some of the world's largest corporations. Shortly thereafter, Biowell was inducted into the InteGuard Alliance, a consortium of 29 major companies providing security services and security technology to the US Government. It is believed that the DNA chip system is more secure than all other systems; since it cannot be copied or hacked, and works with specially configured readers.

The DNA biochip can be applied to many products. For example:
Security ID cards
Credit and ATM cards
Debit cards
Consumer merchandise (CDs, VCDs, DVDs, notebook computers, PDAs, handbags, etc.)
Other applications where authentication is required
(antiques, paintings, security access, ignitions, etc.)

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Daniel K. (dannicy)

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