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Thermal Ribbon Analysis Platform

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Thermal Ribbon Analysis PlatformFocus Area: Criminalistics

Description: Fraudulent and counterfeit documents are an essential tool for terrorists and criminals when they engage in many activities such as illegal border crossings, credit card fraud, financial crimes, and unauthorized entry of facilities. When high quality commercial type images are required, the documents are most often produced on printers with thermal ribbons. Any given portion of a thermal ribbon is only used one time so it retains a latent image of what it printed. Locating these images and synchronizing the images of the different colored ribbons can produce a complete image of what was printed. This will positively identify the specific printer used for a given document as well as determine exactly what was printed when the counterfeit document is unavailable. Quantum Signal LLC is developing a hardware-software system that easily identifies and extracts the latent images on thermal ribbons and then reproduces an image of the document or graphics. The system will allow for the enhancement of images that are recovered and tracking of the entire forensic process to ensure admissibility in court. The hardware will easily fit on a bench or counter top and will require a minimal amount of training time to operate. The end result will be an efficient comprehensive tool to identify what printer created a document or image without reconstituting the document.

Project Cost: $548,000

Project Duration: 15 months

Operational Impact: Computers and printers used in terrorist and criminal acts, especially in counterfeit identification document cases, can be identified. The images that they printed can also be identified and analyzed.

Deliverable: A hardware-software system that extracts latent images from printer ribbons

Performer: Quantum Signal, LLC

End Users: United States Secret Service, Department of Defense, and Intelligence Community

Transition: To be made commercially available by the developer

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