Experts at the University of Leicester's Space Research Centre are working with colleagues at De Montfort University to create a handheld device which will detect fake whisky and wine -- through the bottle.
The technology has already been developed by the University of Leicester team to spot counterfeit medicines by scrutinising the packaging. Now the experts are working to transfer the technology to analyse liquids in bottles.
As well as helping to stamp out the big problem of counterfeit whisky and fine wine, this could also have major potential for airline security systems, they believe.
The technique relies on detecting the differences between the characteristics of light reflected from printed packaging. Originally developed from a spectrometer designed and built by the Space Research Centre for astronomical research, the technique was adapted for use in the pharmaceutical world by the University of Leicester team in conjunction with university spin-out firm Perpetuity Research and Consultancy International Limited which is a specialist crime and security consultancy.
Now the technology is being adapted again by the University of Leicester team for use in detecting fake liquids, with experts at De Montfort University providing skills in product design and rapid proto-typing so that a handheld device can be created.
"The support from the Food and Drink iNet will allow us to take the technology and apply it in the case of whisky and fine wines," said Tim Maskell, Knowledge Transfer Manager in the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester. "The iNet funding will enable us to design, build and test a laboratory prototype that will allow us to prove the technology works. If we can then take the technology and do something similar with other liquids there are potential airport security opportunities too."
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