Singapore scientists develop AI-based anti-counterfeit tech

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed an anticounterfeiting technology – called DeepKey – based on 2D-material tags and artificial intelligence (AI) authentication software.

A key element of their approach is the use of durable identification tags that are not easily damaged by environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures, chemical spills, UV exposure, and moisture, according to the team, led by Chen Po-Yen and Wang Xiaonan from NUS’ Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

The 2D tags include physically unclonable function (PUF) patterns that are randomly generated by “crumpling” the thin film material used to make them.

The PUF pattern is then attached to a QR code to link the authentication element to the cloud and allow traceability, with the PUF lined to the code using a database – a process that can take “less than 3.5 minutes,” according to the researchers.

The resulting security label can be attached to goods, and authenticated by checking the PUF pattern against the database in a few seconds with 100 per cent accuracy. They suggest the durable tags could be applied to products like medicines, jewellery, and electronics.

“With this research, we have tackled several bottlenecks that other techniques encounter,” said Wang.

“Our 2D-material PUF tags are environmentally stable, easy to read, simple and inexpensive to make. In particular, the adoption of deep learning accelerated the overall authentication significantly, pushing our invention one step further to practical application.”

The NUS team has filed a patent for their invention and is now planning to push this technology one step further.

“We are searching for better, faster, and more robust readout and authentication approaches for our PUF tags,” said Wang.

The team has already begun to conduct research on other readout techniques to further shorten the processing time.

“In addition, such naturally encoded information by the PUF tags could be further secured by being kept on blockchain, so that the whole supply chain and quality control can be transparently tracked,” he added.

The research – which was conducted in collaboration with researchers from Anhui University of Technology and Nanyang Technological University – has been published in the scientific journal Matter.

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