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Passport security
tamper-evident adhesive for passports

In 1994 Graeme Mann of 3M in Australia worked out how to scan all of the information (including the colour picture) needed for passports into the clear adhesive layer that sticks the plastic cover onto the first page. Try to peel it off and the information is destroyed, try to paint a moustache on the picture and, using a simple torch light, it's revealed.

Mann's client was the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which was looking for a way to eliminate passport tampering. Austrade is marketing the innovation overseas.

Mann is one of many Australians employed by 3M to be innovative and create new products for new consumer needs. 3M is a big American company with subsidiaries all over the world.

Since early this century, researchers like Graeme Mann have been allowed 15% 'private time' during working hours so they can work on their own projects with the company's equipment and resources. In exchange, anything valuable that results from this private work is shared with the company.

Over the years, this policy has created a large number of the range of 60,000 3M products valued at $20 billion a year. They include the original Post-it? note, Scotchbrite? scourers, sandpaper, sticky tape, asthma puffers, cough lozenges, fire fighting chemicals ... many of the things it's hard to imagine life without.

Who Did It?
Key Organisations
3M Security Product Division : all aspects of innovation

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade : client

Commonwealth Government Printing Service : technical advice
Key People
Graeme Mann : Inventor

Further Reading
?Secure passport jumps airport queue?
Julian Cribb
Australian, 26/7/95

3M Australia
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

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Fire-Brake foam
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EXELGRAM anti-counterfeiting technology

The photo and text are actually incorporated into the plastic film. Courtesy 3M Australia
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