Electronic identity documents (eIDs) in the form of contactless smartcards will in future be more than just proof of identity. They could additionally serve as multi-functional cards that can be used in many other areas of everyday life: for instance, as a public transport ticket, as company ID or as a library card. This is indeed consumer-friendly, but will expose the smart cards to greater pressure than before.
In order to adequately address new use scenarios already during the design phase of the smartcards and in order to enable better testing and assessment conditions, Bundesdruckerei GmbH, Infineon Technologies AG and the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM have joined forces as partners in the two-year SeManTiK project (“Secure and long-life eID applications for human/machine interaction”).
They developed realistic test methods and simulation models and explored new methods of integrating the chip into the card body. Research results have convinced the smartcard industry and international standardisation bodies . More than 35,000 cards were packaged, tested, analysed and evaluated in 20 different test combinations. The new test sequences developed in the project made it possible to obtain extraordinarily reliable and precise confirmation of failure rates and patterns which have been observed in international smartcard projects with more than 50 million cards in day-to-day use.
“In future, our research results from SeManTiK will thus become part of the work of the international standardisation bodies of the smartcard industry and demonstrate Bundesdruckerei’s innovation leadership“, says Joachim Kloeser, chief project manager and coordinator at Bundesdruckerei. Thanks to SeManTiK, card manufacturers can simulate the life of the documents better than before and adjust the design as required. “If contactless eIDs are to be used several times a day in future, they must withstand significantly greater stress than before“, says Peter Stampka, initiator and project manager at Infineon Technologies in Regensburg. “The results from SeManTiK will help to improve the mechanical strength of contactless eIDs and are therefore also an important step towards achieving parity between the optical and electronic security of ID documents.“
The SeManTiK project was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with €1.8m over a term of 2.5 years. The “human/machine interaction” research topic addresses new technologies in an interdisciplinary research and action plan. It focuses on technical innovation which, along with social innovation, responds to the special challenges facing society at times of demographic change. The expertise of the Federal Criminal Police Office for forensic and methodological analyses as well as the know-how of Specialty Films of Bayer MaterialScience AG in the field of substrate materials were also contributed towards the research work.