EURion Constellation

eurion

The EURion constellation is a pattern of symbols found on a number of banknote designs worldwide since about 1996. It is added to help software detect the presence of a banknote in a digital image. Such software can then block the user from reproducing banknotes to prevent counterfeiting using color photocopiers. The system is employed on Euros, U.S., dollars, Japanese Yen, and British pounds sterling.

The name ‘EURion constellation’ was coined by German computer scientist, Markus Kuhn, who uncovered the pattern in early 2002 while experimenting with a Xerox photocopier that refused to reproduce banknotes. Technical details regarding the EURion constellation are kept secret by its inventors and users. A patent application  suggests that the pattern and detection algorithm were designed at OMRON Corporation, a Japanese electronics company.

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