How To: Bust A Counterfeiter With Your Mouse

A few weeks ago I wrote about airport security in the States using Nintendo Wii balance boards to do screening and catch the bad guys. What an innovative idea!

This article is about a similar discovery. According to, “El Mundo reports that Spanish researchers at The University of Lleida have used a modified optical mouse to detect counterfeit coins with a success rate comparable to that of an expert trained to do so.”

According to the original article, which is in Spanish “We have implemented a detection system of euro coins by comparing patterns obtained with an optical mouse sensor.” In other words, these Spanish scientists have figured out another way to nab counterfeiters trying to pass fake coins. What is the best part about this process? This mouse reconfiguration is a cheap and easy process.

The prototype uses the sensor to capture images and compare them to real currency. I know what you are thinking, and yes, this can also be done with a webcam. However, the article goes on to explain that “the advantage of these sensors is their small size, low cost and a viewing angle so small that it can capture the details on the coins in a simple way.”

According to, “The device utilizes the sensor on the mouse to detect the minute details etched into the surface of the coin. The user loads a coin into the detector, which then references the coin against a database of legit currency. The sensor can detect even the slightest mistakes on the engraved map of Europe on the back of every Euro coin, making it easy to detect all but the most perfect facsimiles.”

I have to admit, before I read about this story, I didn’t even know that counterfeiters made coins. I mean, if you are going to go to all the trouble to make fake money, why not go for the gusto and make paper bills?

This video shows exactly how to make counterfeit money. Seeing this makes me realize that you don’t have to be very smart to do it. HA!