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Edible QR Code Takes a Shot at Fake Whiskey

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An edible silk tag bearing a QR code, which manufacturers can place in bottles of whiskey. Consumers then can use a smartphone app to confirm the whiskey’s authenticity.

Credit: John Underwood/Purdue University

Biomedical engineers at Purdue University and South Korea's National Institute of Agricultural Sciences have developed a quick response (QR) code to confirm whether a whiskey is authentic or counterfeit.

The QR code is imprinted on an edible fluorescent silk protein tag that users can scan with a smartphone to verify the drink's legitimacy.

Purdue's Young Kim said scientists strengthen silk proteins' durability with alcohol so "the shape of the tag can be maintained for a long time."

Kim and Purdue's Jungwoo Leem said specialized silkworms produce fluorescent silk cocoons that are processed into a biopolymer used to form data-encoding patterns.

The researchers placed tags in various whiskey brands over a 10-month period, and were able to activate the tags and codes with a smartphone application.

From Purdue University News
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