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2004 World Technology Awards Winners & Finalists

Dr. William Bandy and Mr. Mike Arneson

Please describe the work that you are doing that you consider to be the most innovative and of the greatest likely long-term significance.

Mike Arneson and Dr. William Bandy co-founded Matrics, Inc. in 1997. Mr. Arneson and Dr. Bandy left the National Security Agency (NSA) in 1999 to operate the company full time. Mr. Arneson had 20 years of experience with NSA managing research and development programs advancing the state-of-the-art in materials and advanced packaging technologies. The Matrics Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag, with its printed antenna on a flexible Mylar substrate, is based on this work. Dr. Bandy had 32 years experience at NSA, where he started up and ran production and research programs and facilities in advanced microelectronics technology.

The backgrounds of both enabled them to create an RFID product that leapfrogged to a dominant position in the industry. Both are visionaries, able to see unique technical possibilities and the capabilities to realize them. Mr. Arneson envisioned the potential for RFID technology seven years ago, but at the time both he and Dr. Bandy recognized the existing limitations of the industry to create a viable product.

Together, they invented breakthrough approaches for RFID technology that had eluded the entire the industry. Their concept enabled robustly performing RFID product to be delivered for the first time to the marketplace. The demonstrated, superior performance of this product provided incentive for Wal-Mart, DoD, and others to mandate the use of RFID technology for delivered goods.

Today, Matrics consumes 80% of the world’s RFID assembly capacity. To scale up this capacity, they invented another new approach for high volume assembly. The prototype, Parallel Integrated Chip Assembly (PICA) system, is being installed at Matrics the last week of June. Together they revolutionized RFID technology, and now they have revolutionized high volume assembly.

The company was started seven years ago at the urging of an RFID industry expert who saw the potential of the founders’ ideas for a revolutionary new approach to RFID technology. The basic idea was elegant?simplify the tag chip so it could be: manufactured inexpensively, operate with minimal power consumption to maximize tag read range, and could be quickly read by the reader. In addition they chose to operate the reader in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band of 915 MHz for optimal power and read range efficiency. At that time, the RFID industry utilized complex, expensive micro chips that had short read distances, that were slow to read, and operated at either 13.56 MHz or 2.45 GHz. What Mr. Arneson and Dr. Bandy were proposing was groundbreaking for the industry. Together they hold over 40 patents and patents pending.

Industry giants (examples: Micron and Motorola) had attempted RFID products, with much fanfare, but failed and closed down those businesses. The industry was contaminated by a reputation for expansive promises and consistent failure to produce.

The failed legacy of the industry was how to read a large number of tags. The best performance was about 50 tags a second at a maximum read range of 10 feet. The Matrics team achieved 1000 tags a second at a maximum read range of 30 feet

Matrics is the only company in the world employing these approaches, and has enabled installation of RFID product solutions never before possible in certain industry situations. These innovative approaches combined with state-of-the-art tag antenna manufacturing technologies, such as reel-to-reel printing of the antenna with silver ink on a flexible Mylar susbstrate, has led to product that is not only the highest performance in the world but also which has the potential to meet price expectations of customers.

Matrics singlehandedly dispelled the negative reputation of the industry, allowing customers to finally realize the potential of RFID.

Brief Biography

William Bandy, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Scientist, was a Senior Level Expert with NSA/DoD and has over 37 years experience in advanced semiconductor technology and systems. He has led teams of engineers and scientists in developing multi-million dollar laboratories, new security technologies, and systems applications. He was a program manager at DARPA for 5 years, and led the $30M/year microelectronics research program. He also served as the first DARPA program manager for the jointly funded industry/DOD SEMATCH program, and was the first executive director of the congressionally mandated, presidential National Advisory Commission on Semiconductors (NACS). He left the NSA to co-found Matrics. Dr. Bandy holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Physics. He is a member of IEEE and the APS. He has authored many technical papers, and has over 40 patents and patents pending.

Michael Arneson has over 20 years of experience with the National Security Agency/Department of Defense in electronic design, development, and integration of advanced electronic security technologies. He specialized in the re-engineering applications of smart materials, sensors, software, and hybrid integrated circuitry and managed multi-million dollar government programs, from research to implementation into the commercial sector. Mike holds over 8 patents for commercial and classified purposes and has over 40 patents pending. Mike has been published in technical publications, has received the Distinguished Service Award from NSA, and has received several awards from DARPA, the Department of State, and NSA. He received the Domestic Technology Award for the transfer of advanced government technology into the commercial sector in both 1995 and 1998. He also served in the Air Force and was awarded the Presidential Citation Award, which was presented by the Vice President of the United States. Mike holds a both a B.A. in general education and a B.S. in Engineering. He is a member of the American Physical Society, the American Chemistry Society, and IEEE.