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3D Printers Have Fingerprints, a Discovery That Could Help Trace 3D-Printed Guns, Counterfeit Goods

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How the technology works.

A new technique developed by researchers at the University of Buffalo can track a three-dimensionally printed object back to the device that produced it.

Credit: Wenyao Xu/University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo researchers have outlined the first accurate technique for tracing a three-dimensionally (3D)-printed object to the machine that produced it, which they think could help law enforcement and intelligence agencies track the origin of 3D-printed firearms and counterfeit products.

The PrinTracker method identifies the unique signatures of 3D printers by reading the tiny imperfections within the in-fill patterns they produce in printed objects.

The team of researchers created a set of keys from 14 common printers, then generated digital images of each key.

Each image was filtered to characterize the in-fill pattern, then an algorithm aligned and calculated each key's variations to confirm the printer signature's authenticity; PrinTracker matched each key to its originating printer with 99.8% accuracy.

PrinTracker was presented this week at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (ACM CCS 2018) in Toronto, Canada.

From UB News Center
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