Currently being tested in the lab, this innovation, dubbed BrightMarker, is in fact a novel, invisible method of marking objects, using fluorescent filaments that are easy to locate in 3D-printed objects. The solution takes the form of fluorescent tags integrated into physical objects, designed to identify them and track their movements. These "tags" are therefore embedded into the object right from the creation process, and are unable to be added to existing items after the fact. The whole process is visible through an infrared camera. In fact, the researchers have designed two hardware configurations capable of detecting these BrightMarkers: one for smartphones and the other for virtual and augmented reality headsets.

Perhaps the most obvious application is the identification of recovered stolen objects, thanks to this unique invisible code. Compared, for example, with Apple’s AirTags tracking devices, BrightMarkers are inexpensive and energy-efficient. They could also be used as a unique digital signature for a product, in order to verify its origin and later update recycling information.

But one particularly interesting application relates to motion tracking. Placed in a wristband, a BrightMarker can, for example, help digitize the movements of the user’s wrist. Installed on each limb, the movement of an entire human being could be analyzed. This could be useful for video game design or the creation of virtual environments.

Pour le moment, cette technologie n’en est qu’à ses balbutiements, mais elle pourrait encore conduire à des usages insoupçonnés.