Researchers develop paper ‘fingerprint’ technique

26/05/17

A team of scientists at Newcastle University have found an inexpensive method to validate the authenticity of paper documents.

The team found that just by taking a picture of it on a standard camera, and then analysing the translucent patterns revealed when a light shines through paper, that it was possible to identify a unique 'texture' fingerprint for every single sheet of paper, reports Phys.org.

they show that a unique fingerprint code can be captured and verified with 100% accuracy using nothing more than an off-the-shelf camera. They further show that the fingerprinting process remains highly reliable even if the paper is treated with rough handling such as crumpling, soaking, scribbling and heating.

Publishing their findings today in the academic journal ACM Transactions on Information and System Security, the team - Ehsan Toreini, Dr Feng Hao and Dr Siamak Shahandashti - say the findings offer a new way to verify physical documents and reduce the risk of forgery.

Dr Feng Hao, co-author and Reader in Security Engineering at Newcastle University, said:

"What we have shown is that every piece of paper contains unique intrinsic features just as every person has unique intrinsic biometric features.

"By using an ordinary light source and an off-the-shelf camera, it takes just 1.3 seconds and one snapshot to capture those features and produce a texture 'fingerprint' that is unique to that document.

"Cloning the paper document would require reproducing the same random interweaving of the wooden particles in the paper - which is impossible, massively reducing the possibility of forgery."

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