The usage font of Braille for medicine package protection

In this article the problem of Braille code verification was investigated in order to use code inscriptions to protect medical packaging.

In the study an algorithm to recognize Braille was designed, with the ability to play aloud the text information by software tools.

The developed method uses the principle of three-dimensional images scanning named "shape from the shadows"; image processing using Photoshop or analog; code identification by the programs of OCR class and playing text information aloud by means of software. Also the principle of data encryption using Braille was developed and new methods of packaging protection with Braille were offered.

Received test results demonstrate that the investigated technique can be used as the basis for a set of software and hardware for a new way to protect medical packaging with Braille.



1. Introduction

Modern packaging technologies are improving every day. The reasons for such changes are both in the desire to reduce the cost of manufactured products and in the desire to protect the packaging from counterfeiting. In Ukraine, according to various versions, up to 50% of counterfeit drugs are sold. The state is taking active organizational measures to combat this situation. But this struggle is waged only with the effect, not with the cause. And the reason lies in the insufficient degree of protection of medical packaging from counterfeiting.

In accordance with the Law of Ukraine dated May 11, 2011 N 2165-VI "On the introduction of changes to article 12 of the Law of Ukraine" About licarsky zasobi "how to markup likarsky zasobіv in Braille" on the outer packaging of medicinal products in Braille indicate the name of the medicinal product, the dose of the active substance and dosage form. Braille is an embossed dotted typeface designed for the blind and visually impaired. Each of the characters contains from 1 to 6 dots to form a letter or (in abbreviated braille) a word. To fully display the specified information, an average of 70 to 300 points are required. Incorrect application or the absence of at least one dot can change the information on the medicinal product contained on the package in a potentially dangerous direction.

Braille marking is necessary for the blind so that they can read the text on the packaging. As the authors of the article see it, such a measure could also be necessary to protect the packaging from counterfeiting. Currently, the protection of packaging using an electronic signature has proven itself, the essence of which is that a unique key is printed on a special label, the label is glued separately to each product unit. When purchasing a product, the buyer sends an SMS message with a unique key to the server and receives confirmation of the originality of the purchased product. However, this method of protection requires the introduction of another additional separate technological stage of the production of packaging.

When protecting medical packaging, it would be logical to expand the possibilities of using a unique key by applying this key in Braille. At the moment, there is a problem of checking the correctness of the applied dots on the package. Font verification devices are available only in printers. Therefore, the goal of this work was the possibility of introducing means for verifying Braille in pharmacies, using software recognition and sounding of Braille printed on the packaging.



2. The purpose and objectives of the study

The paper deals with the problem of protecting medical packaging using Braille. The main task is to develop high-quality protection of packaging from repeated reproduction.

To solve the main problem of the study, several particular problems need to be solved:

- investigate the problem of Braille verification;

- implement an algorithm for recognizing and scoring braille;

- to develop the principle of data encryption using Braille.



3. Research results

At the moment, there are several methods for verifying Braille, among which two main groups can be distinguished - contact and non-contact. Contact methods can damage the application of the type and are quite slow. In non-contact methods, 3D techniques are used: triangulation with a laser beam, angular displacement and "shape from the shadow". The latter method can be used on an industrial scale, since it does not require scanning sensors or a linear projector.



4.1 Braille recognition and sounding algorithm

4.1.1. Filming the studied surface of the package

Using a digital camera and a directional light source (from two opposite positions), the surface of the package under study is photographed. In photographs, the shooting point is unchanged, only the shadow cast from the braille dots changes.



Fig 1. Scheme of photographing the relief of the surface of medical packaging


4.1.2. Application of graphic algorithms for transforming images

Graphic algorithms for transforming images were developed in the Matlab environment based on the functions of the Adobe Photoshop program. Below is a list of basic actions in Adobe Photoshop that must be performed with the resulting photographs for their further recognition.

The photographs were edited in one file. For layers of photographs, the blending modes were changed from the "Normal" status to the "Difference" status. Next, we applied such correction filters as "Curves" and "Invert". The main criterion for the calculation was the need for the contours of our points to be clearly visible in black, and the rest of the field in white. Then the image was transferred to the "Grayscale" mode and the effect "Stylize> Emboss" was applied. The final image was saved in BMP format. In this way, we obtained the layout of the Braille dots on the packaging necessary for recognition.



Fig 2. The result of applying graphic algorithms for transforming the obtained photographs


4.1.3. Braille recognition

Braille was recognized using the algorithms of the Braile Reader Lite program, which is one of the varieties of optical character recognition (OCR) programs. The specificity of recognizing braille text is that a braille character is not a closed structure, like an ordinary printed character, but is a collection of individual dots. The mutual geometric position of the points determines the symbol itself. The unambiguity of the perception of a braille character is largely influenced by adjacent characters, or even the entire braille line.


Fig 3. Result of recognition of the surface relief of medical packaging

4.1.4. Reading the recognized text aloud

For dubbing the text, we used a program for reading texts by voice - "Govorilka". The best result was achieved by using the capabilities of the online application of the company "Google", located on the Internet at the address: "".


4.2. Braille Encryption Principle

Initially, braille consisted of 6 dots; for digital data processing, it would be logical to use 8 dots. In the 6th version of Unicode (2010), a range (2800-28FF) was allocated for this purpose, referred to as the Braille alphabet. Each character contains a range of 256 variants of encrypted characters. To ensure such protection, it is enough to apply 10 characters in Braille to the package, and we will get an 80-bit key that is able to prevent an attack from being hacked using the conventional brute-force method.


Fig 4. Example of a key to be applied to packaging


4.3. New method of protecting packaging with braille

A unique key is printed on the surface of each package in Braille, a database of keys is stored on the server. With the help of a special module, the buyer checks the goods for authenticity. For control, the name and price of the goods are reproduced aloud. In order to avoid cases of repeated sales of goods with the same packaging, a monitoring system is running on the requested server, which monitors where and when the goods were purchased.



5. Conclusions

In the course of researching the problem of verifying braille, it was possible to develop an algorithm for recognizing braille aloud in a poorly controlled environment. The principle of data encryption using Braille was developed. Based on the results of the research carried out, a new concept of packaging protection using variable braille key printing technology was proposed. Further research should be aimed at solving the issue of optimizing the operation of the proposed algorithm; creation of a set of necessary software; research of the characteristics of cameras necessary for the implementation of the algorithm.





1. Konshin А., Protection of printed products from counterfeiting (Sinus), Moscow, 1999, p. 160

2. Sharifullin М., Protection primarily, Publish, no.7, 2000,  pp. 36-39

3. Sharifullin М., Brand in the castle, Publish, no.6, 2007, pp. 14-19

4. Shirai Y., Three-dimensiomal Computer Vision, Springer, 1987, pp. 48-50

5. Horn B., Brooks M., Shape from Shading , MIT Press, 1989, pp. 123-127

6. B. Horn, Ch. Wagner, Informationstheoretische Grenzen optischer 3D-Sensoren [Текст] : (B. Horn - PhD thesis at the University Erlangen ), Nurnberg, 2003, pp. 33-37





The article was published in Eastern-European Journal of Enterprise Technologies, 6/2(60) 2012



Add comment

Security code