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CMU Grad Develops New Technology For Credit Cards

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Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs changed our lives, and became rich in the process, by pioneering the personal computer, the iPhone and now the iPad.

Now, an enterprising young man out of Carnegie Mellon University wants to follow in his footsteps by changing the way we use credit cards.

There are 500 million credit cards in the U.S., 550 million debit cards and more than a billion pre-paid gift cards. Jeff Mullen wants to change the way we use everyone one of them.

“A successful release in this industry could be one of the largest consumer electronic releases in human history,” Mullen said.

In a stroke of insight, Mullen had an idea to create an interactive credit card that would give the user choices in how to use it. Now, he’s partnered with banking giant Citibank to bring this card to their customers.

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon in electronic engineering, Mullen got a degree in patent law and then returned to CMU’s Tepper Business School with the credit card idea and the desire to form a company.

The result is Dynamics Inc., his start up on Perry Highway in McCandless, where he has a half dozen of these interactive cards are under development.

On one of the cards, the user can push in a security code which will unlock the card. This way, if this card is lost or stolen and someone picks it up they are unable to use the card.

The cards are as flexible and as thin as those you carry in your wallet but inside there is a battery and more than 70 electrical components and microchips.

“And if I bring out a cup of water and turn the card on then we can see that the cards are completely waterproof. So they can survive in your washing machine,” Mullen said.

“It has huge potential,” says Joel Adams of Adams’ Capital. Adams Capital has supported Dynamics Inc. and allowed Mullen to expand his workforce from one to 27.

The company’s expected to soon double and the sky’s the limit.

“Every couple of years you’ll be seeing a new set of highly innovative products that bring us to the next level, sort of what you’re seeing in the consumer products world with the iPhones and the BlackBerries,” Adams says.

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