ProTech DNA has developed new technology to protect consumer items from theft.

The DNA-like technology is available from tech company ProTech DNA as an anti-theft kit where consumers assign valuable items throughout their homes and offices with unique personalized identification numbers (PINs) housed in adhesive gel dots. The personalized PINs are assigned once the consumer elects to receive the anti-theft kit on ProTech DNA’s website and registers each item of value with ProTech’s database. Once registered, the gel dots, which are composed of nickel and contain an ultraviolet trace, arrive via mail.

According to the company, the kits contain enough gel to secure nearly 100 personal items ranging from valuable electronics to expensive jewelry. In the event of a break-in, and then the possible recovery of those stolen items by law enforcement, participating police departments use a UV light and a specialized camera to reveal the microscopic personalized PIN contained in the gel dots. That PIN is then compared to PINs held in ProTech DNA’s database and matched with the customer’s phone number and email so that law enforcement can trace the item back to its owner.

Currently in use at more than 5,000 police departments across the United States, the ProTech DNA kits are expected to be used by an estimated 1,000 additional police departments each month, according to the company.

The technology is available at ProTech DNA’s website for $5 to cover the anti-theft kit shipping fees.

Like other biometrics, ProTech’s technology is similar to the recent discovery that 3D printers leave behind fingerprint-like markings on the products they create, making efforts to trace an item — say a 3D printed gun — back to the machine it was made on, and consequently its maker, easier.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com