Saturday, February 24, 2007

Relaunching The Launched Malaysia Microchip

In July last year, this blog asked the question "Malaysia Microchip (MM): Where Art Thou?" Finally today, there is an answer:

PM Challenges Local Researchers To Develop Leading-edge Applications

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today challenged local researchers, scientists and engineers to demonstrate to the world that Malaysians are able to develop leading-edge applications and solutions based on the advanced technology available today.

The prime minister said that only by being a creator of technology could Malaysia move up the economic value chain and take its place among the developed nations.

"I have said this so many times ... that we must create our own technology and not just become efficient users," he said when launching the Malaysia Microchip Project (MM Chip Project), here.

The MM Chip Project utilises the latest `Radio Frequency Identification' (RFID) technology, where Malaysia aims to become a leading contributor to its development.

Having started in 2004 using Japanese technology, Malaysia has succeeded in producing the smallest RFID chip with built-in antenna receptive to three bands of radio frequency.

Stressing on this achievement, Abdullah, who is also the chairman of the MM Chip Project Committee, said he hoped that the MM chip-based application and solutions would be adopted not just by local agencies and companies but also by organisations all around the world.

"There are significant gains to be made in this field, provided that the right applications are commercialised," he said, adding that the government had a structured commercialisation plan in place for the project.

Abdullah said the government, through the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), had created a wholly-owned company -- Senstech Sdn Bhd -- to spearhead the development of applications for commercialisation purposes.

"Nevertheless, I would also like to urge the private sector, in particular technology-based SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), to work closely with MIGHT and Senstech Sdn Bhd in order to develop innovative products and solutions utilising the MM chips," he said.

At present, the MM chips are utilised in the B Certificate for films approved by the Film Censorship Board, and a university in Melaka will introduce a RFID-enabled attendance system to monitor its students.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, who co-chairs the committee with Abdullah, said that for the time being they were concentrating on the local market.

"We want the government agencies to use this first, our own microchips with the latest technology, before we go abroad," he said.

In explaining the "beauty" of the technology in layman's terms, Mohd Radzi said the chip was so small it could be used in paper and certificates, hence the ministry's plan to use it in marriage certificates as well as passports, among others.

"Today we have too many forgery cases, so we hope by using this technology we can manage it. That's why we want our government agencies to use it," he said, adding however that the government had no plan to enforce its use.

Asked on the cost of the project, Mohd Radzi said that since its establishment in 2004, the government had spent more than US$50 million (US$1 = RM3.50) on research and development alone.

However, he said, the government was confident that with its vast potential the MM chip could put Malaysia on the world map as a leader in such technology as well as being competitive in the market.

At present, the chip is manufactured in Japan but the government has plans to shift manufacturing to the Kulim Hi-Tech Park soon, said Mohd Radzi.


Another case of reinventing the wheel and glocalisation a.k.a. jaguh kampungisation?

"The latest `Radio Frequency Identification' (RFID) technology"? Oh, in case you didn't bother to click the above link to my post in July, HP had created a much better version of it:

Data can be moved in and out of the chip at speeds of up to 10 megabits per second - far faster than is possible with other short-range radio systems such as Bluetooth or Radio Frequency ID tags.
Hat-tip to Sonofusion, here's a even smaller RFID microchip.

RFID Powder Developed By Hitachi

From Pink Tentacle

Hitachi researchers have developed a new micro-miniaturized radio frequency identification (RFID) chip that is 64 times smaller than their currently available 0.4 x 0.4 mm mu-chips.

At 5 microns thick, the RFID chips can more easily be embedded in sheets of paper, meaning they can be used in paper currency, gift certificates and identification

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