As counterfeiters continue to up their game, technology’s quest for the ultimate method of proving authenticity goes on. We’ve seen ideas at the nano level before, but IBM thinks its latest research might be so difficult to reverse engineer, that it’s impossible for forgers to reproduce. IBM scientist Dr. Heiko Wolf explains that the basic principle involves using the surface tension of water to orient nanorods on a stamp, which can then be printed onto any surface. These nanorods are so small that gravity alone isn’t enough to place the particles into predetermined patterns, such as corporate logos. IBM’s researchers have also patented a related nano-patterning method that uses fluorescent spheres that can take the color red, blue or green. These then arrange themselves in a completely random order, which is mathematically so difficult to replicate it’s known as PUF (physically uncloanable function). Both methods can be applied to a broad selection of objects, making them ideal candidates for anti-counterfeit detection for everything from diamonds to passports — all that’s needed to verify authenticity is an optical microscope. Don’t get your Picasso out of the vault just yet though, as it’s estimated that it’ll be another five years or so before the technology will find its way to market.
Source: IBM Research
Marketers already know way to much about us thanks to online tracking, and now they have yet another powerful way to understand consumers.
MIT startup Affectiva has created a webcam that codes facial expressions and a sensor that measures changes in body temperature. Both could be a huge way for brands to steamline the market research process.
Liz Gannes over at All Things Digital reports that MIT professor Rosalind Picard and research scientist Rana el Kaliouby initially created the technology to “help children with autism understand facial expressions,” but now marketing research companies like WWP Millard Brown and IPG Media Lab primarily use the products. Affectiva just raised $12 million in Series C funding from Kleiner Perkins and Horizon Ventures.
Kaliouby told Gannes that “we have the largest repository of facial responses ever collected in the world,” which is part of its webcam product, the Affdex dashboard.
According to the company site, the “dashboard provides overall emotion scores and real-time, scene-by-scene playback of facial data.” It can also compare the difference ! in emoti onal and facial responses from men and women, and people of different races.
Affectiva’s other product is the Q Sensor, which measures skin conductance — or in other words, how body temperature and sweat glands change over time.
NOW READ: The Incredible Story Of How Target Exposed A Teen Girl’s Pregnancy With Sophisticated Market Research >
Another day, another story about some cheap, plastic Wii motion control accessory finding an application outside of gaming. In this case, it’s the balance board, and not only is this device helping stroke victims recover, it’s saving them money, too.
In fact, doctors at the University of Melbourne found that the balance board, normally used for pseudo Yoga or navigating Mii’s down a virtual ski slope, was so sensitive it could very well replace traditional laboratory-grade “force platforms” doctors use to assess a patient’s balance.
When doctors disassembled the board, they found the accelerometers and strain gauges to be of “excellent” quality. “I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up,” said lead researcher Ross Clark, in an interview with New Scientist.
Even better, Clark’s team has already published a paper that verifies the Wii balance board is “clinically comparable” to the nearly $18,000 lab force platform. That’s great news for many smaller physio clinics that would otherwise be unable to afford the traditional rig. [New Scientist]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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