Development Process of a Smart Code Based On Smart Materials

Mustafa Bilgin and Johannes Backhaus, University of Wuppertal

Smart materials, particularly color changing materials are common at several applications, e.g. time-/temperature indicating labels, smart packaging, and more. Smart Materials such as photochromic compounds have a light detecting behavior – e.g. light of distinct wavelength. Halochromic materials respond to pH (acid – base) variances. They gradually change after an induced stimulus from one color to another color. These color gradations can be defined as information to indicate different environmental influences. Due to this behavior, smart materials are able to store information about external conditions. Besides static data (2D), dots of smart material can be embedded in a smart code as (3D) dynamic sensor data. Smart materials can be printed as sensors and operate without power supply. By means of its CCD-camera a smart device e.g. smart phone, tablet, or smart watch can optically readout the particular information of the code. By scanning various smart codes during the transport chain, an autonomous information exchange in the Internet of Things (IoT) can take place.

In this paper, the features for developing a dynamic (3D) smart code and first research results of a simplified prototype tool for the detection of position markers, static (information) and dynamic (smart materials) sections will be shown. Additionally, the color change behavior of a group of embedded photochromic dots will be analyzed to detect differences between its states when exposed to UV light. The respective color values will be transformed into information about the intensity of a contamination.