Research & Development

Innovative Banknote Security Features

Sam Cape is the R&D Director at Crane Currency and the key contributor to the success of the micro-optics technology. With the help of proprietary software and advanced algorithms, Sam was able to crack the code and create illusions that today can be found on banknotes all over the world with MOTION® and RAPID®.

A banknote with a micro-optic security feature has hundreds of thousands of lenses – plus an array of images that rest below them. The challenge is how to place these images and Sam developed an algorithm that calculates the images and positions needed to get the desired effect.

Tip of the iceberg

The pioneering days brought new commercial products to the world, such as Motion, an advanced security thread woven into the banknote paper. But only a small part of micro-optics has so far been explored. Crane Currency is focusing a lot of research and development on increasing the size and form of these technologies.

Today, the micro-optics on a banknote can be seen as a 6 mm wide security thread, but in the near future new larger forms will become available. The increased space gives a central bank a bigger area to conceive of even more interesting and intuitive visual effects.

Moving portraits and games on banknotes

“The big question for me is how we make the technology really engaging for people. Shall we increase the movements, use more colors or add illusions that make the entire note stand out as authentic? With Crane Currency’s micro-optics technology, it will soon be possible to include portraits that move, wink, give a nod or gesture when you tilt the banknote”, says Sam Cape.

Crane Currency is also exploring the possibilities of “games” on banknotes. When you tilt the note the right way, you will get a visual reward - and thereby understand that you’re holding a genuine note in your hand.