The fake vs real goods problem: Microscopy and machine learning to the rescue

Ashlesh Sharma, Vidyuth Srinivasan, Vishal Kanchan, Lakshminarayanan Subramanian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Counterfeiting of physical goods is a global problem amounting to nearly 7% of world trade. While there have been a variety of overt technologies like holograms and specialized barcodes and covert technologies like taggants and PUFs, these solutions have had a limited impact on the counterfeit market due to a variety of factors - clonability, cost or adoption barriers. In this paper, we introduce a new mechanism that uses machine learning algorithms on microscopic images of physical objects to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit versions of the same product. The underlying principle of our system stems from the idea that microscopic characteristics in a genuine product or a class of products (corresponding to the same larger product line), exhibit inherent similarities that can be used to distinguish these products from their corresponding counterfeit versions. A key building block for our system is a wide-angle microscopy device compatible with a mobile device that enables a user to easily capture the microscopic image of a large area of a physical object. Based on the captured microscopic images, we show that using machine learning algorithms (ConvNets and bag of words), one can generate a highly accurate classification engine for separating the genuine versions of a product from the counterfeit ones; this property also holds for "super-fake" counterfeits observed in the marketplace that are not easily discernible from the human eye. We describe the design of an end-to-end physical authentication system leveraging mobile devices, portable hardware and a cloud-based object verification ecosystem. We evaluate our system using a large dataset of 3 million images across various objects and materials such as fabrics, leather, pills, electronics, toys and shoes. The classification accuracy is more than 98% and we show how our system works with a cellphone to verify the authenticity of everyday objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKDD 2017 - Proceedings of the 23rd ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages2011-2019
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450348874
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 13 2017
Event23rd ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, KDD 2017 - Halifax, Canada
Duration: Aug 13 2017Aug 17 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
VolumePart F129685

Other

Other23rd ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, KDD 2017
CountryCanada
CityHalifax
Period8/13/178/17/17

Keywords

  • Computer vision
  • Convolutional neural networks
  • Microscopy
  • Physical authentication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems

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