Previous post:

Next post:

DataDot DNA review: Protect expensive investments cheaply with electronic DNA

January 1, 2004

in All Articles,Miscellaneous

“Okay, punk, gimme the iPod.” As the bully shoved him up against the locker, Chris thought he should be pretty freaked out. But, though he handed over his new multi-hundred-dollar media player with a shaking hand, he started to relax. The bully would take the expensive device, and, like the handheld video game and DVD set, would claim it was his all along. But this time, Chris knew, he had a definite way of getting it back. The bully paused in mid-grab, confusion percolating with worry. Because this time the punk kid wasn’t terrified. He was smiling.

DataDot DNA is a collection of tiny balls, each the size of a grain of sand. Using a laser engraving process, unique identification numbers are etched on the DataDots. The DataDots are mixed with a special high-strength adhesive. Customers purchase “DataDot DNA kits”, which consist of hundreds or thousands of identical DataDots floating in the adhesive.

In the case of Chris and his iPod above, proof of ownership is easy: Chris had prepped the iPod by attaching DataDots to certain areas. Those DataDots could be found later by exposing the iPod to ultraviolet light, or a “blacklight”: When exposed to this special light, the adhesive glows blue, allowing you to find the DataDots.

Using any portable microscope with a magnification of 30x or greater, the writing on the tiny DataDots can be easily read. The unique number etched on them matches a personal ID number you’re given when you purchase your Dots. For Chris, he could prove the iPod was his by reading and matching the DataDots with his personal ID number, stored safely at home.

If he wanted to get police involved, the DataDot DNA website allows law enforcement to view the registered names associated with certain DataDots. This comes in handy for recovery and legal proof of ownership for anything you want to identify as yours.

“DataDot Technology has been active in the US market for the past 3 years and only within the last 9 months has the product been readily available to consumers.” I spoke with Scott McKeever, the Program Development Director for DataDot Technology USA.

DataDots are new, but already popular: They’ve guest starred on “CSI: New York”. Lexus of Australia applies a proprietary version of DataDots to every car in their product line. McKeever says DataDots are actively being used in law enforcement. McKeever says, “The NICB [National Insurance Crime Bureau] and a few state attorney offices are currently using DataDots in sting operations across the country.”

Getting an iPod back from a bully is of course handy, but DataDots are designed to work on bikes, motorcycles, cars, boats and high-priced electronic items. Some already have unique IDs (like auto VIN numbers), but easily applied by the thousands, DataDots are much harder to find and remove.

Designed for heat, cold and water, dots can be applied to your car’s brutally hot engine block, or along the weather-abused undercarriage and tire rims. Anything you want to identify as yours can be marked as such.

Hands off, thieves. And hats off to DataDots.

DataDot DNA application kits start at $25.

Previous post:

Next post: