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102 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2022 How Does One Create an Immutable ID? Fortunately, there are newer, more secure methods emerging in the market to meet the need for an immutable ID and create the req- uisite "crypto-anchor" to a physical object. In this article, I will focus on a proven method for producing a unique and secure "fingerprint" using digital images. All objects, even those that are visually iden- tical to the human eye, can have tens of thou- sands of unique surface characteristics or fea- tures if you can look closely enough. By look- ing at a digital image of an object at a pixel lev- el, soware, and algorithms, such as Alitheon's FeaturePrint TM, you can see these features on the surface of any object. e system can then map the strongest of these features and store this map as a math equation and unique finger- print for each object. At the point of origin or manufacture, a new product can be inducted into the system us- ing this method when a digital image is tak- en and then registered in the system with its own unique ID. e ID and associated data are stored in a secure, cloud-accessible database. When an object needs to be identified later for authentication purposes, another digital pic- ture is taken, and the ID is again extracted and uploaded to the cloud. Next, the algorithms compare the new ID with those in the refer- ence database and re- turn either a "match" or "no match" indication to confirm whether the system has seen this spe- cific object before. is process of creating an ID during registration or authentication hap- pens in milliseconds. Not only does this method for creating an immutable ID rely on standard digital imag- es, but it also leverag- es standard commercial- ly available hardware. Standard industrial cam- eras (e.g., Basler and Allied), lenses, and light- ing are used to capture images while standard PCs (e.g., NUC), monitor, and keyboard can be used to run the camera service (Figure 2). Be- cause the soware can work with images from a 12MP camera, it is possible to use iPhones with 12MP or better cameras in mobile authentica- tion scenarios. e reliance on commercially available components also enables flexible de- signs which can be easily retrofitted into exist- ing facilities and manufacturing processes. Figure 1: PCB "heatmap" image representing what the software sees. Figure 2: Standard industrial cameras, lenses, and lighting are used to capture images while standard PCs, monitor, and keyboard can be used to run the camera service.

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