Xerox unveils a new weapon against counterfeiters: teeny print.


Prepare to squint. Researchers at Xerox have created letters that stand only one hundredth of an inch tall. Printed inconspicuously on checks, birth certificates, school transcripts and other papers, they could distinguish authentic documents from fakes.

Microprint itself isn’t new. Look at a credit card or $20 bill under a magnifying glass, and you’ll see that some of the dark lines and borders are actually strings of letters and numbers. But until recently, it was impossible to personalize these characters. Now, with the special Xerox font, anything can be custom-printed in miniature. For instance, in less than a minute, an employer could turn out 100 payroll checks with 100 unique names on each of them; custom-forging each check would be virtually impossible. As for verification, bankers could simply authenticate the checks by examining the microprint to make sure it matches the payee’s name.

To create the font, Xerox researcher Reiner Eschbach and his colleagues wrote new software (for room-size commercial printers) that emphasizes ultraprecise alignment of the ink dots within each letter. The no-frills characters are readable even when miniaturized, unlike with more beautifully sculpted fonts.

Most people won’t notice the microscopic writing on their documents. But, Eschbach says, “the counterfeiter will know it’s there.”—Dawn Stover

Via: Poular Science