Smartphones Make Smarter Holograms

February 2021

The tantalising prospect of combining the analytical capability and connectivity of a smartphone with the authenticating power of a hologram was the theme for the ‘Physical, Digital, Virtual’ session of The Holography Conference Online (December 2020). Here is a selection of the presentations.

Pete Smallwood, from Eltronis, illustrated the power of combining smartphone authentication with new holographic origination features in his paper ‘Physical and Digital – Combining the Best of Both Worlds for Robust Authentication’. 

Pete explained how strong level-one features have been used in the pharmaceutical industry in Russia to allow practitioner authentication and regain confidence in prescribing medical pharmaceuticals. And in what is likely to be an increasingly important application in the mass COVID-19 vaccination programmes being rolled out across the globe, Pete described how in one application, vials containing a solution for an intramuscular injection are being protected using a bespoke hologram/smartphone solution. 

Pete also explained how the combination of a hologram with a QR code, which is scanned using a standard smartphone, is being used on Romanian wine bottles to provide information about the wine’s pedigree and confirm it is genuine (see HN October 2020).

Jan Thiele, from Prismade Labs, carried on the theme of using technology to make holograms smarter in his paper ‘Smart Holograms – Electronic Holograms for Smartphone-based Verification’.

In his presentation, Jan set out the path to alleviating the reliance on the end-user’s knowledge of the hologram features by explaining how using touch can allow the hologram to be verified on a smartphone. And as Jan explained, an additional benefit to the system is that it can be activated when connection to the internet isn’t possible.

The session concluded with Brett Nelson’s (De La Rue Authentication) presentation of his paper entitled ‘Digital Authentication Using Photopolymer Holograms’. 

After setting out the four levels of inspection that apply to security features, Brett argued that holograms are still the most widely recognised and intuitive Level 1 authentication element. But as advances in the sophistication of counterfeits drive the need for ever more complex holographic features and elements, so the demand for machine assisted verification has increased. 

Brett explained the 7-dimensions of parallax-based authentication that an inspection of a Lippman hologram must satisfy to pass the test of authenticity, and claimed that digital validation of full parallax photopolymer holograms offers additional benefits compared to classical holography.

As became clear in the session, and elsewhere in the conference programme, the interplay between holograms and digital devices has gone beyond simple authentication, and the combination of the two technologies opens up security applications that neither can achieve on their own.

Also in this issue:

  • New Partnership to Leverage NFC Technology
  • Vaccines – the Perfect Targets for Counterfeiting
  • News in Brief
  • Checking our Technology
  • Getting Excited About a New Class of Anti-Counterfeiting Device
  • Peacock Plumage Could Prove Useful in the Fight Against Counterfeiting
  • Webinar on Non-Cloneable Codes Raises Contentious Questions
  • Using 4D Printing to Create Multi-Colour Invisible Inks
  • New Directory for the ID Industry
  • Ginseng to Carry Trackable Labels
  • Upcoming Events

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