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Reusable, time-limited identification badge displaying a programmable image Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014848D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20

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ID badges typically include a photograph of the badge owner. Temporary badges (such as those supplied to visitors or to permanent badgeholders arriving without their badge) typically lack this simple and instant means of verification. While doors to a building may be controlled by badges, this does not of itself guarantee that there will be no unauthorised access because the intruder may take advantage of tailgating, a faulty door catch or a stolen badge. Once inside, the intruder is unlikely to be challenged if wearing a valid temporary badge or a sufficiently convincing fake. The invention, a reusable badge, includes a display on which it shows the image of the wearer. The image is programmed into the device when it is issued and can be changed for each new wearer. The device can also be programmed with an expiry date/time, after which it will cease to display the image and will no longer be valid. With such a device in use, everyone without exception would be expected to be wearing a photo badge and it would be more difficult for an intruder to pass unnoticed. The programming for the device can include a coding mechanism which makes it impossible for unauthorised users to set the image even if they were to obtain the necessary equipment. Badges with photographs are more secure as it is immediately obvious if the wearer is not the legitimate owner. Temporary badges could have printed pictures attached in some way but the picture would be easy to change. The invention is resistant to forgery and is able to cancel itself automatically at a specified time. The reusable badge incorporates a thin, lightweight display of a size and weight which is comfortable to wear (eg an LCD). It has sufficient storage to hold an image of the wearer. Optionally, it may also include a means for controlling access to badge-locked doors. It has a means of identifying the date and time and is therefore able to expire at a set time. Programming of the device requires an electronic image of the wearer, which can be obtained instantly using a digital camera or, in the case of wearers already known to the system, be retrieved from an existing file. The transfer can use any suitable medium (eg infra red link, cable, a plug-in memory card) but for additional security should be subject to a means of encoding which prevents unauthorised users from setting the badge. Other solutions include badges with a means to carry data (a convention badge which is basically a floppy disk onto which business cards and other data can be given to convention delegates) or various electronic means for machines to verify the identity of the wearer (eg using their signature), but these do not use data storage capability for an image and thus permits a simple visual check by other humans. Non-electronic solutions include means to create a tamper-proof badge but these are neither reusable nor instant. 1