By Andrew Liszewski
Spotting fake currency isn’t terribly difficult if you know what to look for and if the conditions are ideal. But what if you find yourself in a dark alley selling certain items to certain individuals and you’re just not able to see those anti-counterfeiting measures like watermarks or holograms? It’s situations just like that (and probably others) why UK based defense and security technology company QinetiQ has developed a new anti-counterfeiting measure that can be detected by touch alone. Paper documents like currency or passports will use magnetic inks that are applied with alternating polarities so that when you fold it in half and rub it together you can feel the attraction and repulsion of the magnetic areas. Or as the actual patent application so eloquently puts it:
In one aspect the invention accordingly resides in a method of checking the authenticity of a document bearing a region of magnetic ink which is magnetised to present a multipol sequence of alternating polarity, the method comprising the step of causing relative movement between said region and a second magnetic region which presents a multipol sequence of alternating polarity, said relative movement being in the direction of said sequences, and detecting by the human sense of touch the consequent process of alternating attraction and repulsion between those regions in the course of such relative movement.
The effect supposedly makes a flat piece of paper feel like it’s rippled, which makes detecting an authentic document pretty easy, no matter where you are. And I suspect that only certain regions of the document will use the magnetic inks to prevent them from completely sticking together when stacked. It definitely won’t catch on if there’s the risk of accidentally tipping the valet with 5 bills instead of one.