Keylock - 2
An Electronic Key for Software Protection is improved by FPGA technology allowing new features
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    30 Computers and software information processing equipment
TECNOCAD is an Italian company (founded in 1988, turnover 500 KECU) with 3 persons which develops and supplies hardware and software to aid electrical, electronic, mechanical and architectural design. It also provides after sales service including training on high added value products. The electronic skills in the company prior to the Experiment were limited to the implementation of digital electronics using discrete devices.

In this Application Experiment TECNOCAD, realised and implemented its product "KEYLOCK" that is a system used in computer add-on-cards to protect the installed software from its unlawful use. The product, realised in this Application Experiment, replaced the previous one based on EPROM and discrete components by using an improved system built around an FPGA and EEPROM.

The market for the Company's products is diverse but the focus for the high added value products, which are the object of this experiment, is educational establishments and it is at national level.

The main objectives of the Application Experiment were the reduction in cost, improvement of features and functionality that are anticipated requirements to improve market penetration and development. The opportunity to gain 'in house' valuable technology skills was key to the Management's strategy. FPGA technology was chosen for the project innovation because of its density improvement, its flexibility to accommodate on line design changes and the relative ease of learning of the design process and tools. The cost of the design tools was also influential in the choice of technology.

The cost of the Application Experiment was 55KECU and the time from start to working prototype 9 months. The estimated payback period of the investment is 17 months while the Return on Investment is of 230% estimated over the life of the project.

The design has exceeded specification expectations, for example a 14% reduction in manufacturing cost has been achieved, and the Company now has in-house design skills with which to pursue new applications. The main lessons learned were that good planning and management of new technology developments can reduce the perceived and real risks and improve the chance of success. The Application Experiment is of interest for companies that work in the sectors of information technology and computer equipment.
Via L. Beethoven, 2

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

??? technology provided ??? with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
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Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

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