From FCC Express
By AgInnovations Ontario
A team of University of Waterloo students has developed a type of ink that can tag and authenticate merchandise with a smart phone.
This could benefit various sectors where counterfeit products are a significant problem – including agriculture, where global trade in fake pesticides is on the rise, endangering food, farming, human health and the environment.
“Our ink changes colour under certain light conditions and you capture that change of light on your smart phone camera,” explains Perry Everett, who hails from Carp, near Ottawa, and is one of the three inventors of the technology. “The image file is converted into an identifier code through an algorithm we’ve developed and it cross references with a database of our inks to authenticate products.”
The ink is a mixture of fillers and a proprietary material that nanotechnology engineers Everett, Graham Thomas from Waterloo, Ont. and Ben Rasera from Surrey, B.C. have invented.
They’re now forming their own company, Arylla Inc, to move their work closer to commercialization.
“We’re able to make a variety of different inks for customers and when you scan something with our inks in it, it will say that the product is authentic, and identify the company and the product,” Everett says.
Although originally thinking about pharmaceutical uses for their anti-counterfeiting technology, they’ve started focusing on agricultural applications since discovering that fake pesticides, which are untested and don’t meet established safety and quality standards, are a growing problem in some parts of the world.
Although not yet a concern in Canada, the European Crop Protection Association estimates up to 10 per cent of pesticides used in the European Union could be counterfeit.
Arylla Inc’s product is biocompatible, non-toxic and eco-friendly. The next step is printing the ink – Everett and his colleagues hope to have a working inkjet printer prototype with an application by the end of this fall and begin work on beta testing this coming winter.