VivoKey Apex update

:thinking: Would I be correct in assuming the Spark 1 can also be used as a backup? Sorry if it feels like I’m splitting hairs.


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I just searched around and found a thread that said kinda sorta probably but now that we are a year later and may have a more solid answer of if this is possible and how it would work: Can the apex emulate a desfire chip while still doing everything else from like payment(if enabled)?
I would have access to enroll it and I don’t need to clone.

ok so…

The P71 used for Apex does not have desfire emulation loaded… it is possible and is part of the base OS, but because of memory constraints it has been loaded on the OS used for the Apex. That said, in theory, I believe the way AIDs are typically selected and worked with on a DESFire means that you could easily set up java card applet to do the job of a DESFire applet, emulating commands etc. for the given “file type”… the file type of course being defined by the DESFire spec.

What is not so easy or even possible are the other features of the DESFire, such as privacy mode where the UID is randomized per ISO14443A session or the secure messaging modes. Java card has its own secure messaging methods but I don’t think they are directly compatible with DESFire. Key management commands, memory configuration commands, and file management commands (how you define and deploy and manage file types) are also not likely supportable with java card, though it might still be possible… I just don’t know because I’ve not dug that deep on it yet.

The bottom line though is that if you wanted to emulate a DESFire file type AID on the Apex, you totally could… you would just need to actually emulate the entire command set used for by the application for that file type.

DESFire EV2 Spec; MIFARE DESFire EV2.pdf (311.6 KB)

File structure;



I’ve been following your work for a while and it looks like the Apex will be the implant for me. I’ve got a couple of questions

  1. Are you still targeting 2021 for mass release?
  2. What form factors are planned besides the flexible strip? For one, the OP mentions a glass tube version.
  3. This is fucking awesome, gonna get a dev kit alongside the implant.

Soon™. The first batch are in production afaik.

Flex (flexible strip), Max (glass tube), Ring, dev kit (card). I am not aware of any other options…

Of course I am just a bystander so none of this is the official position of Vivokey.

Everyone temper your expectations on the Apex Max (glass x-series). We do want them to exist as a product, but as Amal has said before we have no ETA for that form factor being publicly available. The challenge is that the smaller tags require bare silicon die, which are only available in a full wafer which is a very expensive up front cost. Also any Max that exist will have similar performance issues to the other x-series (poor coupling), and you really need good coupling for a complex power hungry chip like the Apex.

There is also a “Mega” form factor in the works, which is a 25mm disk with LEDs and an optional hole in the middle. This can use the MOB package so it’s expected sooner than the Max, but we currently have no ETA for that form factor either.

The Apex Flex and the Apex Ring are the only form factors that are certain to be released Soon™

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I saw the post about production to give to Flex one beta users. I’m assuming the dev cards on the store are Spark 2 cards? I’m mostly interested in the Fidesmo app development stuff so I might pick up one of their YubiKeys if I get impatient.

I figured as much.

So sorta like the FlexMN? Sweet.

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My understanding is that these are closer to the Apex Java cards. They weren’t announced until March of this year, so I would be surprised if they are just the spark 2.

However there is an intention, currently unimplemented, to have them reset every 30 days so that they truly are development cards and not access cards.

Sorry for the maybe stupid question but what does ETA means?

Estimated Time of Arrival.

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Actually the dev kit has ISO 15693 cards which are like the Spark 1. These were made a very long time ago actually and it was meant to be used by developers to interact with the vivo key APIs and platform.

We may explore apex cards at some point but for now that’s not the case.


So for now just get some random Fidesmo device to develop with? Do you know what the best analog would be to the chip used in the Apex?

The fidesmo card 2 is close I guess.

Keep in mind though that the fidesmo card is a P60, and the Apex is a P71 if I’m not mistakin’

sorta… the card is actually a P40 chip… but fine for developing java card 2.2.2 applets… which most things can use just fine.

We’re talking about the Fidesmo Card 2.0 though, which is a P60 according to the product page on the Fidesmo shop. The card sold by DT is out of stock, but if it ever comes back, would you recommend it over the Fidesmo Card 2.0 for testing Apex stuff? If so, why?

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Nope the Fidesmo Card 2 would be better… but honestly we will prob look at making Apex development cards with P71 chips.


is it possible to have such a dev card set up as a back up? in case my hand get chopped of? :stuck_out_tongue:


Is this likely to happen to you? :laughing:

There will be an Apex Ring which you should be able to use as a backup. If you lose both hands you could always wear it on a chain around your neck. (If you lose both hands and your neck I think you have bigger problems than your Vivokey Apex being missing.)