- (AFP) -- Malaysia has bought the rights from a Japanese
firm to the world's smallest microchip that can be embedded in everything
from currencies to human bodies.
- Announcing this on Thursday, Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir Muhammad said the microchip would boost the global "anti-terror"
- Mahathir said the revolutionary miniature chip, developed
by Japan's FEC Inc., could be combined with current technology to "greatly
prevent the possibilities of terrorist acts" as well as banknote and
- FEC (M) Sdn. Bhd. chief executive Kunioki Ichioka told
reporters that the chip can also be inserted into the human body, animals,
bullets, credit cards and other items for verification purposes, and can
replace price bar codes used to tag products.
- Unlimited application
- Measuring 0.5 of a square mm and produced at less than
0.38 ringgit (10 cents) each, the chip - the size of a dot - uses the radio
frequency identification (RFID) chip technology.
- "The application is almost unlimited," Mahathir
told a news conference after annual talks with global hi-tech chiefs at
Cyberjaya town in Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor MSC), an enclave
south of the capital Kuala Lumpur modelled after California's Silicon Valley.
- "We think this is a great breakthrough for Malaysia.
It is the first in the world. No other people have come up with such a
tiny microchip, particularly as it also has a built-in antenna," he
- The veteran premier declined to reveal the cost for the
project, dubbed MM or Malaysian Microchip. "I think it is reasonably
priced," he said, adding in jest that the acronym MM did not stand
for Mahathir Muhammad.
- Mahathir said the project, in which Malaysia would establish
the chip applications and network, would spur new economic initiatives
and accelerate the country's goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020.
- He said the chip would initially be manufactured in Japan
early next year but production would eventually be shifted to a factory
in Malaysia's northern Kedah state belonging to state-owned wafer fabrication
firm Silterra (M) Sdn. Bhd.
- He said Japanese companies would still be involved in
the project, in the transfer of technological know-how, but the proprietary
right would belong to Malaysia.
- The project is seen as another feather in the cap for
the 77-year-old Mahathir before his retirement in October after 22 years
- © 2003 Aljazeera.Net