Available Technology

Reading Through Paint

PRI Research & Development Corporation collaborated with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to build a hand-held Magneto-Optic Imager (MOI) for detecting data matrix symbols through paint. In addition to detecting codes covered by paint, primers, and laminates, the scanner reads marks obscured by discoloration or contamination. While PRI manufactures the hand-held scanner, Robotic Vision Systems, Inc., was granted a license to market the new product. The MOI has the potential to help businesses improve inventory management, enhance safety, improve security, and aid in recall efforts. With more products in the world painted than not, the market for the MOI is very promising, particularly in the airline, automotive, electronics, and health care industries. For example, the automotive industry needs a flat identification mark under the paint that does not detract from a high-gloss paint job. The electronics industry, pharmaceutical industry, and others are becoming aware that product identification is no longer limited to marks that can be seen. Eventually, customers may receive packages with a visible mark on the top label and a magnetic mark underneath, or no visible marks on the outside at all, depending on the need for security.
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