DIC's near-infrared fluorescent dye adopted for MIT's BrightMarker technology to enhance motion tracking, virtual reality and object detection; invisible tags embedding the dye will contribute to the digitalization aims of DIC Vision 2030 management plan

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September 13, 2023 (press release) –

Tags are Deployed in Diverse Objects to Enhance Motion Tracking, VR and Object Detection

TOKYO, JAPAN—September 12, 2023—DIC Corporation’s near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye and a polymer compounding this dye have been chosen for use in BrightMarkers, invisible fluorescent tags developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers that are embedded in physical objects to enhance motion tracking, virtual reality (VR) and object detection. MIT is expected to introduce its BrightMarker technology at the User Interface Software and Technology Symposium (UIST) 2023,* a top-tier user interface conference, which will be held in the United States in autumn 2023.

Common applications for NIR fluorescent dyes include bioimaging (a method for visualizing and analyzing cellular processes, among others), but these dyes are not commonly used in fluorescent polymers because of heat resistance and compatibility issues. DIC’s NIR fluorescent dye boasts a variety of unique properties that set it apart from other products on the market—particularly its excellent heat resistance and compatibility into polymeric hosts—as a result of which they have found application in medical plastic material, including surgical instruments and testing equipment. DIC Corporation has collaborated with several academic institutions and other companies to develop technologies using its NIR fluorescent dye that have contributed to advances in the field of medical operation, as well as to the resolution of key social imperatives.

The near-infrared fluorescent dye plays a crucial role in the printing of information patterns such as QR codes as fluorescent tags in the new technology BrightMarker developed by MIT, as it can be mixed and molded into resin filaments for 3D printers. BrightMarkers emit light at an NIR wavelength, meaning they are imperceptible to the naked eye and thus do not alter the object’s appearance or other properties. Because the tags are only viewable using an infrared camera, it is possible to embed highly confidential information without risk of tampering.

One study conducted by MIT showed that BrightMarker technology can also be used to improve motion tracking and VR technologies. For example, when a bracelet embedded with a fluorescent tag is worn, the wearer’s movements can be digitized and reproduced in a VR environment. Fluorescent tags created using DIC’s NIR fluorescent dye are not easily impacted by visible light, allowing information to be read with greater sensitivity and precision than conventional motion tracking technologies. Accordingly, these tags are expected to contribute to advances in motion tracking.

In its DIC Vision 2030 long-term management plan, the DIC Group has identified “Smart living” as one of the priority business areas that will contribute to greater digitalization and is focusing particularly on the expansion of its functional materials portfolio. DIC is confident that MIT’s BrightMarker technology will play a key role in seamlessly bridging the gap between the digital world, including augmented reality (AR) and VR, and the physical world. Convinced that its NIR fluorescent dye technology offers promise for further applications, the Company will continue working to promote related market research, as well as to address a variety of social imperatives.

*UIST 2023, the premier international forum for innovations in human–computer interface, will be held from October 29 to November 1, 2023, in San Francisco, California.

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Dan Rivard
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