Here's the latest development in anti-counterfeiting technology: magnetic paper. -EditorThere is a continual battle between counterfeiters and banknote manufacturers. But Stuart Eaton and colleagues at UK military research company Qinetiq think they have designed the only technology that makes it possible for anyone to spot a fake by touch alone.
Most anti-counterfeiting techniques use visual cues such as watermarks or holograms, or machine-readable features like markings that only become visible under ultraviolet light.
Qinetiq's idea is to use spots of magnetic inks on a document such as a banknote, with alternating polarity. To check a note's authenticity, you simply fold the note and rub it to feel the alternate attraction and repulsion as the inks move past each other.
The sensation would make a smooth piece of paper feel rippled, say the group, who think the technology could work on anything from passports to legal letters. Whether the idea would make notes difficult to stack or peel apart, we can only guess.
A touch-based system would have advantages in places where lighting is poor such as pubs and clubs, as well as being a useful aid to the visually impaired. The public could be educated to learn how to recognise the particular pattern, says the patent, but no mention is made of how easy or difficult it would be for fraudsters to copy the design.
To read the complete article, see: nvention: Fraud-beating magnetic banknotes
To read the full magnetic banknotes patent application, see: MAGNETIC DOCUMENT AUTHENTICATION FEATURE TO BE DETECTED BY THE HUMAN SENSE OF TOUCH (http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?IA=WO2005024735&wo=2005024735&DISPLAY=DESC)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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