When the Kingdom of Bahrain launched its first ePassport last year, we were fascinated by one of its special components: the MIRAGE™ window-based security feature by HID. We were curious about the story behind MIRAGE—how and why it was created. In this exclusive interview, we speak with Frederic Jacquot, Director of ID Documents, OS & Product Management for HID CID, who “pulls back the curtain” and tells the inside story of MIRAGE.
Keesing Platform: Did HID sales and product managers receive feedback from customers requesting a completely new security feature for their polycarbonate cards, which led to you creating Mirage?
Frederic Jaquot: Thank you for your interest in HID’s security feature Mirage which is used in polycarbonate identity documents. The idea took shape not in a secluded lab, but amid the dynamic atmosphere of public tradeshows where we engaged closely with our customers and partners. It was an exciting time in the security industry, with the emerging use of polycarbonate (PC) in electronic ID (eID) cards sparking new ideas and possibilities.
Our customers’ feedback was the catalyst. They admired the existing security features like true windows and polycarbonate laser engraving, but they yearned for something more intricate and integrated. This led us to realize the demand for a sophisticated feature that combined the transparency of a window with advanced security elements, centered around personalized data.
Thus, Mirage was born, a blend of multiple security technologies with a personal touch. Imagine a card that intriguingly alters its appearance with a simple tilt or a change in lighting, a testament to the union of identity and innovation. Mirage isn’t just a security feature; it’s a symbol of our commitment to responding to our customers’ desires for advanced, personalized security solutions.
KP: What other factors inspired HID designers to create Mirage?
FJ: The inspiration behind this innovative feature was multifaceted, grounded in a desire to meet specific, practical requirements while pushing the boundaries of security technology.
- First and foremost, we aimed to make Mirage a level 1 security feature. This was a crucial aspect of its design, ensuring that the feature could be easily verified by anyone, at any time, without the need for specialized equipment. It’s about making security accessible and uncomplicated, allowing immediate validation in the most straightforward manner.
- The second driving factor was personalization. We focused on making Mirage a unique reflection of the individual by centering the design around the engraving of the main portrait. This personal touch not only enhances security but also creates a more intimate connection between the card and its holder, adding a layer of personal identity to the security feature.
- Lastly, we wanted Mirage to be equipment vendor agnostic. This meant designing the feature to be compatible with standard laser engraving equipment that’s widely available in the market. By avoiding the need for specialized hardware, we ensured that Mirage could be easily and broadly implemented, making this advanced security feature more accessible and versatile for our customers.
In essence, the creation of Mirage was a harmonious blend of accessibility, personalization, and practicality, tailored to meet the evolving needs of security in an ever-changing world.
KP: What elements of other security features did you build upon?
FJ: In developing Mirage, HID drew upon a rich tapestry of existing security features, each contributing its unique strengths to create something truly innovative. Our team’s diverse background, including experts from the world of paper and security paper printing, inspired us to adopt the watermark effect achieved through light transmission. This concept, familiar in the realm of paper security, was reimagined for our polycarbonate cards, adding a layer of sophistication and depth.
We also leveraged the concept of MLI/CLI for the dynamism of personalized data to life. Coupled with this, the elegance and simplicity of the clear window feature were essential in securing and showcasing the main portrait. By building upon these established elements, we were able to craft Mirage into a feature that’s not just secure but also visually striking and easy to verify.
KP: Were there specific limitations you hoped to overcome with Mirage?
FJ: A key challenge while developing Mirage was perfecting the lamination process, crucial for maintaining the feature’s integrity post-manufacture. Our years of fine-tuning lamination techniques, especially for our renowned datapages and high-quality cards, came into play. We had to ensure the proper behavior of the layers, including the TPU layer used in datapage hinges, during lamination to create the necessary transparent windows for Mirage.
MIRAGE™ protects the portrait of the passport holder
Another focus was the unique look and feel of Mirage, characterized by its light gold background and blue portrait. Achieving the right balance of neutral colors suitable for various document designs, while addressing image resolution, was a significant undertaking. Through continuous improvement in material formulas, software optimization during personalization, and picture quality enhancements, we’ve advanced Mirage continuously. These developments are ongoing, with more advancements poised to reach the market soon.
KP: Has Mirage been integrated into documents issued by agencies and governments besides the Kingdom of Bahrain?
FJ: Yes, Mirage is also a component of the Afreximbank eMRTD (2017), Indonesia’s ePassport (2019), and Tanzania e Resident Permit card (2020).
HID powers the trusted identities of the world’s people, places and things. They make it possible for people to transact safely, work productively and travel freely. HID’s trusted identity solutions give people convenient access to physical and digital places and connect things that can be identified, verified and tracked digitally. Millions of people around the world use HID products and services to navigate their everyday lives, and billions of things are connected through HID technology. HID works with governments, educational institutions, hospitals, financial institutions, industrial businesses and some of the most innovative companies on the planet. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, HID has over 4,500 employees worldwide and operates international offices that support more than 100 countries. HID is an ASSA ABLOY Group brand. For more information, visit www.hidglobal.com.
Frederic Jacquot is the Director of ID Documents, OS & Product Management for HID CID, in charge of the development of identity documents, security features and Common Criteria certified operating systems. Frederic has worked for HID for the last 10 years. He has over 15 years of experience in Product Management, Business development and Sales. He played a key role in e-Passports and e-ID projects worldwide. Frederic holds a Masters Degree in Management from ESSEC business school, France.