3D security protection for ID documents from Morpho

Featured at the CARTES & IDentification trade show in December 2010, 3D Photo ID gives ID documents an added level of security. This technology uses a complex system of lenses to counter attempts at forgery.

Developed by Morpho (Safran group), 3D Photo ID technology uses a stereoscopic process to allow the image of the document holder's face to be viewed in 3D. The main objective of 3D Photo ID technology is to counter document fraud. "The main types of document fraud today involve the replacement or falsification of the photos on official documents," states Jacques van Zijp, VP sales ID Documents at Morpho. This is because, even though the document itself can be protected using visual features such as holograms or shadows, photos prove to be insufficiently secure.

To give the appearance of 3D when the document is viewed, each eye has to see an image taken from a slightly different direction. The brain then combines these individual images into a three-dimensional picture. "We have therefore developed a lens system integrated directly in the document which presents each eye with a different image of the same person," explains Jan van den Berg, ID Documents Security concept expert.

Three security levels
The complex nature of the system ensures its security because it requires, first of all, the simultaneous capture of two photos. Secondly, in addition to this, the structure of the lenses on the document surface requires a highly specialized capability to produce the precise quantity, quality and size of lens required. The central feature of 3D Photo ID technology is the laser engraving of images through the lenses into the body of the card. This provides a third level of security because it makes it possible to display other information, for example the document holder's date of birth or an ID code, partly over the 3D photo. "The text then seems to float above the image," says Jacques van Zijp. This process prevents data alteration making attempts at forgery easily detectable without specialised equipment.

Morpho's first deployment of 3D Photo ID technology is due to take place this year for drivers licenses in the United States. The Netherlands are also set to sign a contract with Morpho for an ID card project with 3D Photo ID.