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Método de detección de fraudes producidos por un campo magnético


Oferta Tecnológica
Una joint venture formada por universidades italianas y españolas ha desarrollado un detector en miniatura que se aplica en dispositivos para conocer si se han aplicado campos magnéticos durante su vida. Las aplicaciones posibles incluyen detección del uso ilegal en discos duros o contadores de agua/electricidad. El detector puede integrarse en estos sistemas y no necesita suministro continuo de energía. Las principales ventajas incluyen integración sencilla y bajos costes operativos. Se buscan industrias del sector de TI con el fin de establecer acuerdos de cooperación técnica.


Method for the determination of frauds produced by a magnetic field
A joint venture between Italian and Spanish Universities developed a tiny detector to be applied on devices to know if magnetic fields have been applied during their life.
Possible applications include detection of illegal use on hard disks or water/electricity meters. The detector can be embedded in such systems and does not need continuous power supply; main advantages are easy integration and low operating costs. Industries in IT sector are sought for technical cooperation agreement.
The two Italian and Spanish University groups work together in the research fields of electrodeposited and sputtered magnetic microstructures and thin films, and on their properties of rotatable magnetic anisotropy. The Italian proposer has gained a long expertise in this topic, witnessed by many academic papers with high citation index. The Spanish proposer is more focused on the growth of magnetic materials, although it has also a great knowledge about materials characterization as demonstrated in the scientific papers of the proposer.

Such a state-of-the-art knowledge is foreseen also for practical applications.
In fact small cheap and passive magnetic field detectors, able to hold memory of external extraneous/illegal magnetic manipulation, can be easily built and embedded inside a wide range of electric and electronic devices.
The main envisaged applications are twofold: apparatus in which their fair use can be violated just approaching an external magnet, or the ones that need to (and can be) monitored to check if they have been used - even normally - in special time periods when nobody is allowed to do so. Examples of these two cases are detailed below.
In both cases a system giving a "proof of violation" is particularly useful.

A valuable application can be found in domestic electricity meters as well as in water meters. It is well known that their readings can be slowed down or even stopped by a strong magnet. Recent press news say that such illicit practice has become increasingly popular, as reported for example on BBC News (UK) 26 Feb 2013, Daily Mirror (Ireland) 10 Aug 2015, Anadolu Agency Energy News (Turkey) 13 Oct 2015, Forester Media Daily news (California) 24 Nov 2015, and so on.
This topic has gained more and more attention even on scientific reviews. Currently around 150 published academic papers deal with the so called Illegal Electricity Usage.

Electric and water distribution companies can benefit of a legal "a posteriori" proof of improper handling of their meters located in households. In one possible embodiment of the invention the thin film is embedded under a seal to be placed on the outside of the meter case, so that a possible removal/restore of the seal can also be detected by visual inspection.

A second application regards the watch for sensitive data inside IT equipment, particularly hard disks.
In this case forensic proofs can be exhibited - in the case of devices requisited by law - that no "further use" has occured during the time lapse from requisition to analysis of its contents by a laboratory. For this application a "micro seal" can be conceived for application on the hard disk case. However experiments still need to be performed in order to understand if the threshold detection of the proposed device is enough for detecting the dispersed magnetic field of hard disks during operation.

Several kinds of other systems exist where the detection of their magnetic manipulation can give added value, for example mission critical GPS systems, freight / airborne black boxes, etc.

The two university groups can claim a cutting edge expertise on the topic of ferromagnetic materials but they have no contact with the production sector to assess the possible applications of their technology. The potential partners should verify the applicability of this technology in some of the possible proposed applications (i.e. electricity and water meters, hard disk, black box.. etc).
Subsequently, the realization of prototypes is foreseen, in order to verify the effectiveness of the proposed technology.

Advantages and Innovations:
The technology allows to detect with accuracy if an electric or electronic apparatus was exposed to magnetic fields.
This feature is useful where such exposition leads to past or present unreliable / faulty behaviour. Applications involving data integrity, certifiable functioning, risks of improper / illegal manipulation are the main fields in which advantages are expected.
Great advantages are foreseen for detecting actions of quenching on electricity meters (obtained by laying external magnets), a widespread illegal practice in the last few years.
Other advantageous applications include the detection of attempts to falsify / delete digital data stored or transmitted, or to make sensible apparatus temporarily or permanently inactive by way of external magnetic fields, for example hard disks holding sensible data, GPS systems, transponders and so on.
Practical advantages of the detector are manifold. Its tiny footprint facilitates integration inside electronic boards. It can be "dressed" and camouflaged to be indistinguishable from other standard microelectronic components. The passive working principle allows it to work without any external power supply.
The working principle has also a favourable detection threshold, if compared to existing devices.
In addition the used materials are not toxic in the solid state phase, making the foreseen applications also environmentally friendly.
The main innovations regard the material used in the detector for keeping memory of the applied magnetic fields, as well as the method used to reveal the changes in its magnetic properties.
The detector is composed by magnetic microstructures grown through deposition by sputtering. The detection is accomplished by Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM).
A search through patents databases confirms that the detection of magnetic fields by way of microstructures has not gained attention yet, hence the proposed application is really innovative.
Stage of Development:
Available for demonstration
Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
- Type of partner sought: industry in the fields of IT and services

- Specific area of activity of the partner: information technology
or services supplier (water/electricity)

- Task to be performed by the partner sought:
evaluation of offered technology and selection of the possible applications.


Type and Size of Client:
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
10004012 Agua en edificios
01003009 Data Protection, Storage, Cryptography, Security
05005 Micro y nanotecnología
02007024 Nanomaterials
04001004 Transmisión de electricidad