A surface micromachined Counter-Meshing Gears (CMG) discrimination device which functions as a mechanically coded lock. Each of two CMG has a first portion of its perimeter devoted to continuous driving teeth that mesh with respective pinion gears. Each EMG also has a second portion of its perimeter devoted to regularly spaced discrimination gear teeth that extend outwardly on at least one of three levels of the CMG. The discrimination gear teeth are designed so as to pass each other without interference only if the correct sequence of partial rotations of the CMG occurs in response to a coded series of rotations from the pinion gears. A 24 bit code is normally input to unlock the device. Once unlocked, the device provides a path for an energy or information signal to pass through the device. The device is designed to immediately lock up if any portion of the 24 bit code is incorrect.
GOVERNMENT RIGHTS STATEMENT
This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0495AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.