Japanese tech firm NEC is developing something it calls an "object fingerprint authentication" system, one that augments a mobile phone camera with the ability to identify the textures and features of big-money brand name items in an attempt to let users avoid fakes.
The tool uses a pattern recognition system to take a high-res image of the original branded product, which is then shared through NEC's servers around the world. A quick snap of a questionable item would then let retailers compare minute elements of any product and its surface details with the original, making it possible to instantly spot a fake.
A more mundane future application of the tech could see it used to remove product tags from stuff, with shoppers using the ID system to check out prices and advice by taking a photo in the shop. [WSJ via Mashable]