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Counterfeiting

Breathing on a nanoscale-printed material reveals a hidden image of Marilyn Monroe

Allowing consumers to identify counterfeit goods is a tricky and expensive problem, as many security measures such as holograms might be easily mimicked by counterfeiters. A new nanoscale printing technique, however, allows researchers to create labels that reveal a "watermarked" image when breathed upon by the consumer. The labels are scalable and durable, and can be applied to many surfaces, yet are beyond the hands of those who might try to mimic them to fool consumers.  Read More

Olive oil counterfeiters may be thwarted by DNA particles, that are mixed into the liquid ...

When most people think of counterfeit goods, they probably picture things like handbags or watches. In fact, there's also a huge market for knock-off high-end food products, such as extra-virgin olive oil. Scientists from Switzerland's ETH Zurich research group, however, have come up with a possible method of thwarting the makers of that bogus oil – just add synthetic DNA particles to the real thing. And yes, consumers would proceed to swallow those particles.  Read More

Examples of the microparticles, shown here much larger than actual size

There's now yet another potential weapon in the war against counterfeiting. Scientists at MIT have developed tiny color-striped microparticles that could be used to verify the authenticity of currency, medication, consumer goods, or almost anything else.  Read More

One of KAIST's silver nanowire fingerprints

The counterfeiting of high-end products is a growing problem, and has led to the development of countermeasures such as invisible woven patterns, butterfly wing-inspired printing techniques, and even synthetic DNA. One of the drawbacks of some of these approaches, however, is the fact that implementing them can be quite a complex process. Now, a team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has come up with something simpler – tiny jumbles of nanowires that form item-specific "fingerprints."  Read More

Scientists have developed 'DNA barcodes' that could be used to authenticate high-end consu...

Earlier this year, we heard about a gun and a fogging system, both of which tag criminals with synthesized DNA. The idea is that when those people are apprehended later, they can be linked to the crime by analyzing the location- or event-specific DNA still on their skin or clothing. Now, scientists at the Technology Transfer Unit of Portugal's University of Aveiro are developing something similar – DNA "barcodes" that can be applied to products, then subsequently read as a means of identification.  Read More

Scientists have discovered an easier new way of detecting bogus rare stamps  (Image: Shutt...

Here’s good news for all you philatelists out there – scientists have discovered an easier new way of detecting counterfeit rare stamps. Unlike some existing methods, it doesn’t require the destruction of any part of the stamp, and can be done quickly by anyone who has access to the necessary equipment.  Read More

An example of one of the invisible patterns, viewed without and with a polarizing filter

Wondering whether the $50 Armani suit you bought in that alley in Hong Kong is the genuine article? Soon, there may be a definitive way of knowing. A new system has been developed, in which designer-specific invisible patterns can be woven into fabric.  Read More

The laser isotope ratio-meter, which is being used to detect counterfeit honey

When someone mentions counterfeiting, it brings up images of money, watches or DVDs. It certainly doesn't make honey spring to mind, yet honey smuggling and counterfeiting is an international problem involving hundreds of millions of dollars. In an effort to combat this, the European Space Agency (ESA) is funding a demonstration project to adopt lasers designed to study the Martian atmosphere, to detect fake honey.  Read More

A man holds a personalized bust that was fabricated on a 3D printer in Beijing (Photo: Hin...

While 3D printing may be touted as bringing manufacturing back to the United States, that doesn't mean the rest of the world hasn't taken notice of the technology. Earlier this week, a 3D Printing Experience Pavilion opened in Beijing's DRC Industrial Design and Cultural Industry Base, where visitors were able to see how 3D printers work firsthand. With a few hours to spare, they could even have their own head scanned and printed as a bust, which follows the 3D printing booth that opened in a Japanese mall last year.  Read More

Fraunhofer is developing machines with built-in copy protection (Photo: Volker Steger)

Mention counterfeit goods and most people will probably think of knock-off watches or pirated DVDs, but counterfeiting is a much wider problem. Everything from aircraft components to groceries are faked on a regular basis, with a third of industries affected at an estimated worldwide cost of US$650 billion dollars. German machine tools are a favorite target and to help combat this the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Applied and Integrated Security (AISEC) in Garching, Germany, is developing new technologies and techniques to make counterfeiting of these items more difficult.  Read More

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