Vision 2014: Fraunhofer IPMS presents technology for testing banknotes

Dresden, /

New 10 euro bill at various wave length ranges
New 10 euro bill at various wave length ranges.

The new ten Euro banknote has been in circulation for a few weeks. It is supposed to be more robust and most of all even more resistant to forgery thanks to modified colors, new watermarks and a special finish. But even these newly printed 4.3 billion banknotes will at some point reach a stage where they no longer meet the quality requirements of the European Central Bank and must be withdrawn from circulation. In the future, this withdrawal process will no longer take place at banks or strictly-controlled ATMs, but more and more in supermarkets or fuel stations, hence anywhere where large amounts of cash are used. But this process is still hampered by a lack of automated, compact, and cost-effective solutions. In an effort to warrant the authenticity and usability of banknotes, the Fraunhofer-Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden joined six partners from six countries as part of the European alliance project EUROTHENTIC, with the aim of developing a module that automatically checks and collects banknotes e.g. at the cash register of a supermarket. In turn, the system would also make it possible to give out the banknotes as change. Therefore the device must first test whether the banknote is authentic, and then decide whether it is »fit« or too worn for future circulation. This assessment can be made mainly on the basis of the banknote's visual characteristics, as it is first scanned with a suitable scanning device and then analyzed with software. »It's the kind of project that is tailor-made for us,« says project manager Dr. Uwe Schelinski, »because it allows us to contribute our expertise in image scanning with suitable sensors and modern methods of signal processing to the image acquisition process.« Besides the integration of a line-shaped image acquisition unit into an electro-mechanical cartridge system for obtaining the required image information during the banknote transport, the scientists of the Fraunhofer IPMS also inserted high-performance control and processing electronics into the overall system. A micro-processor and associated software analyze the image information, and provide information as to whether the banknote is both authentic and »fit« shortly after the banknote is inserted the system. The technical result is available to the industry partners that are participating in the project. To obtain additional information about the competencies of the Fraunhofer IPMS, visit the company at Vision – the world's leading trade fair for machine vision – in Stuttgart from November 4 - 6, 2014. The presentation by Fraunhofer IPMS can be found at Stand 1H73.