Italian geophysicist Pietro Cosentino is on a mission to identify works of art through unique "sonic fingerprints". Cosentino began using sonic tomography to study art in 2005, and hopes his work can help to end Italy's ongoing problem with faked and stolen artwork. Based on the principle that every object emits a distinct vibration, Cosentino's process involves fitting a network of sensors to an artwork, then tapping the sensors with a small rubber hammer. Recorded vibrations are unique, and even allow an educated listener to distinguish between artworks made as part of a series. The noninvasive process takes several hours, and can be used on stone, wood and ceramics.
The sonic fingerprinting system, in the process of being patented, has only one significant drawback - like X-rays, the scans must be performed every few years to provide up-to-date information.
Read more at Wired.com.