You're clicking through eBay, looking for a good deal on an Alexander Wang bag — but how can you be sure you're getting the real deal? It used to be that you could spy a counterfeit from a mile away (yes, Prado backpacks: I'm talking about you.), but nowadays it's a bit tricker. Counterfeit designer items are so well done that it can be nearly impossible to identity them with the human eye. The National Physical Laboratory has developed the terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (which sounds like a time machine, but unfortunately is not) to help identity counterfeit goods traveling into and out of the U.K..
The terahertz time-domain spectroscopy uses electromagnetic radiation to pass over items, and is able to detect the composition of the fabric. A profile is then built for each real designer item, and that profile can then be compared to the profile of a suspected counterfeit item. It seems like the kind of gadget a crime-fighting style blogger would have in her arsenal, but it's very real, and is predicted to help the British fashion industry, which loses an estimated 3.5 billion euros each year to fake goods.
Currently, the terahertz time-domain spectroscopy is only being used in the U.K., but hopefully the U.S. will follow suit soon.
Pew pew pew! (Sorry.)