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Encoding Information in Clustered-Dot Halftones

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While barcodes are a popular means for encoding information for printed matter, they add unsightly overt content. If an image is already part of the composition of a printed label or page, hiding information in that image is an attractive alternative to barcodes. This paper offers a new method for encoding information in the halftone of an image. We focus on the class of techniques that perform clustered-dot halftoning, as commonly used in both dry toner and liquid toner electrophotographic processes. The method takes as input any grayscale image and a payload of data to be encoded and produces a bitonal clustereddot halftone of that image with selected halftone clusters shifted to carry varying numbers of bits from the payload. The resulting data-bearing steganographic halftone is referred to as a “Stegatone”. Because of the small size and large number of clustered-dot cells in printed halftones the bit density is quite high – over 2000 bytes/square-inch. Scans of test printed stegatones from a number of printers support the robustness of the method with high recovery rates.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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