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3D printed QR codes are the latest development in the prevention of counterfeiting and intellectual property (IP) theft. Created by an international team of researchers from NYU Tandon, New York, and NYU Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), these invisible tags can be internally embedded within additive manufactured components, to be read later only by trusted parties.
“You need to be cost efficient and match the solution to the threat level,” explains Nikhil Gupta, NYU Tandon associate professor of mechanical engineering, “Our innovation is particularly useful for sophisticated, high-risk sectors such as biomedical and aerospace, in which the quality of even the smallest part is critical.”
QR - Clouds
3D printed QR “clouds”
The tags developed by the team at NYU explode a typical 2D QR code into a 3D cloud of pixels.
Pixels - Dimension - Team - Cloud - Code
When aligned properly the pixels can be scanned, however, working with this extra dimension, the team are able to encode the cloud with multiple faces – obscuring the one “true” code.
“By converting a relatively simple two-dimensional tag into a complex 3D feature comprising hundreds of tiny elements dispersed within the printed component, we are able to create many ‘false faces,'” explains Gupta, “which lets us hide the correct QR code from anyone who doesn’t know where to look.”
Code - Part - Information - Number - Place
To read the code, which can be programmed to contained part information such as serial number and place produced, users require a micro-CT scanner or similar device as used for non destructive testing (NDT). Then the part must be oriented at just the...
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