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Alien Technology Releases Pre-encoded Higgs-4 Chip

The new IC, which comes pre-encoded with a 38-bit EPC serial number, offers a variety of new features, including the ability to be written to at high speed.
By Claire Swedberg
The Higgs-4 IC also features security functionality known as Dynamic Authentication, to thwart tag cloning. The chip comes with what Mitchell refers to as a non-reproducible fingerprint built into every chip, for use on high-value items. A non-copy-able signature is read from each tag, and is used to identify it as a unique entity. This fingerprint can then be utilized to authenticate that the tag is, indeed, the same one read at some other point along the supply chain. "What is truly differentiating," he states, "is that if you tried to copy or clone this chip, and programmed the same EPC and TID serial numbers, the Dynamic Authentication fingerprint would be different." This allows for the simple detection of counterfeit goods, and is designed to thwart cloning.

According to Mitchell, Alien will initially provide the Higgs-4 chip in three of its existing tags: the Squigglette (ALN-9730), the Short (ALN-8762) and the Squiggle (ALN-9740). These models can be ordered now, with delivery expected in four to six weeks. He declines to indicate which tag manufacturers will offer RFID inlays made with the Higgs-4 ICs, but notes that most of Alien's existing tag-making customers can be expected to do so. Moreover, he adds, those tag providers have customers that are already pre-ordering the tags.

The Higgs-4 chip is less expensive than existing chips, Mitchell reports, which should lead to the availability of lower-priced tags. In part, the lower cost is possible due to a decrease in the chip's overall memory (512 bits, as opposed to the Higgs-3's 800 bits).

Alien Technology intends to continue marketing the Higgs-3 IC as well, Mitchell says, for users requiring the larger memory capacity.

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