knockoff-spotting-technologyWe all know that “the only sure way to know you’re not buying a knock-off is to purchase your goods from a reputable store,” blah blah blah. We can’t be expected not to look for deals on eBay, right? Well while the rest of us have been crossing our fingers and praying to Shanell, the patron saint of discounted designer goods, science has gone and invented a new technology for spotting designer knock-offs.

Researchers in the U.K. have designed a way to use radiation to identify the exact makeup of fabric. According to Popular Science:

Each type of fabric produces a specific signature based on the way the terahertz radiation waves scatter while passing through it. It’s sensitive enough to detect changes in fabrics that might look and feel similar, like natural and synthetic silk or regular wool and the more prized (and costly) Merino variety.

The technique could help prevent fraudulent fashions from making it past the customs official who can’t tell the difference between Burberry and plaid, diminishing the £3.5 billion the British fashion industry claims to lose each year because of cheap knockoffs.

“Counterfeit clothes can look and feel almost exactly like the real thing and so customs officials need technological assistance to spot them,” said John Molloy, a researcher on the project. Customs agents can seize counterfeit goods, but they have to be able to spot them first.

The new technology couldn’t identify knockoffs made from the same fabrics as the original, though, and before it could be put into place a database of fabric signatures would have to be assembled so that a customs agent could check his or her fabric scans against what they’re supposed to be.

The new knock-off-spotting technology is intended for customs agents, so it could eventually cut down on the number of fakes getting into the country. But those of us shopping on eBay will still probably have to take our chances.

Via The Huffington Post/Photo: Shutterstock