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Technology for the Recognition of Unique Objects: Yoctrace®

With the global spread of counterfeit goods rising to new levels in recent years, the imitation trade is now a more serious issue than ever. Japan is no exception to this trend, with forged coupons, fake tickets, and even falsified pharmaceutical products emerging in its markets, making the need for counteractive efforts against the counterfeiting of goods an urgent matter.

Exceptional accuracy in recognition through advanced image processing and use of original algorithm

Made possible through our highly advanced image processing technology, Fuji Xerox has successfully developed Yoctrace® Note 1, a technology for the recognition and authentication of unique objects. Yoctrace is capable of identifying random patterns that are generated on the surface of objects in the production process, and by using an originally developed algorithm, can then verify these patterns against others with extreme accuracy.

Yoctrace technology works by using a smartphone, digital camera, or a scanner to capture a small sample image of the surface patterns of a genuine product, which is then registered in a server. Following this, another sample image of the same area is captured, this time from an object that is to be verified. This new query image is then compared against the original, and the authenticity of the object is determined (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Yoctrace Technology Overview

Rather than extracting only specific characteristics from a captured image to determine authenticity, Yoctrace technology uses images in full to record the random patterns unique to objects that are generated in the manufacturing process and that are difficult to replicate intentionally. These one-of-a-kind patterns are highly suitable as identifiers of objects, and by taking these patterns taken from the query image and comparing them with those taken from the registered image, Yoctrace technology is able to accurately differentiate unique objects (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Pattern Verification

Because Yoctrace utilizes images in full when identifying objects, the level of accuracy attained is extremely high. This makes the technology suitable for use in preventing the counterfeiting of objects that require high security such as ID cards and cash vouchers (gift certificates, etc.). Furthermore, as recognition is carried out using an image of the object itself, this removes the need to tag individual objects using serial numbers or barcodes, making it possible to authenticate small objects for which tagging is difficult such as pills. In order to deliver this level of accuracy in image verification, random patterns found on object surfaces must be captured at high resolution. It is therefore important that this and other conditions such as image size and object lighting are set in accordance with the target object when images are taken. By doing so, this prevents color shading and shadows that are created by surface unevenness from affecting images used in recognition, in so making it possible to achieve the high level of accuracy required in object authentication.

Enhancing cryptocurrency security by combining Yoctrace with blockchain technology

Yoctrace authentication technology also has possible future applications in its combination with blockchain technology where it could be used to enhance the security of cryptocurrencies. For example, to enable storage that is secure from hacking threats, cryptocurrencies can be printed out on paper with two-dimensional barcodes such as QR codes, completely removing them from the digital environment. However, as information printed on paper can be easily duplicated, doing so leaves these printed versions susceptible to counterfeit attack. To prevent this, Yoctrace technology could be used to link images captured from the paper medium with the unique QR codes. This pairing of information would then be registered, and could later be authenticated by cross-checking, in so delivering a high-level of security to cryptocurrencies.

Learn more about Yoctrace technology

So that people and organizations from all fields of business have the opportunity to use our Yoctrace unique object recognition technology, Fuji Xerox welcomes any inquiries to learn more about the technical possibilities of Yoctrace and to gain information regarding use of the intellectual property. For more information, please contact our customer support center.