Printable memory puts fraudsters on the spot

Credit cards and passports get information and security boost

The new MemoryJet printer from HP creates memory spots at the same time as it prints documents. The memory spots work in much the same way as the more simplistic radio-frequency identification tags, but are far smarter and more secure than RFID.

The revolutionary feature of this printer is that it ‘prints’ the memory spot onto a document or card, simultaneously encoding the data on the document and its metadata, such as date of creation, author and encryption key.

This makes it impossible to counterfeit the document, as the DNA signature of the ‘ink’ and paper or plastic form part of the universal identifier.

Memory spots can also be used to uniquely tag paintings, photos and other items of value. The information on the spot can be easily retrieved by simply placing a reader nearby, even specially-equipped smartphones.

But the ability to print a passport or credit card, while simultaneously creating a digital version securely embedded, with the same device – now that’s smart!

ANALYSIS >> SYNTHESIS: How this scenario came to be

The convergence of two technologies – tiny wireless chips and printable electronic devices – will lead to a revolution in secure documents and personal identifiers such as credit cards and passports. Once the device that prints the visible data can also print the digital equivalent and its security code, then the two can be irrevocably locked together by means of global unique identifiers combining time, location and DNA – the ultimate encryption key.
Although HP is not at the forefront of true 3D printing, they have been leaders in commercializing ink-jet printing for the office and home markets. As the Memory Spot comes from their own laboratories, they should be able to produce ‘printable memory’ for the mass market. This a unique opportunity to regain leadership in a totally new business, as the old one faces the prospect of imminent death – true radical innovation!

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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