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Invisible ads that only your mobile phone can see February 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Mobile Telecoms, Science.

A technology that can “hide” information in plain sight on printed images has begun to see the first commercial applications.

Japanese firm Fujitsu is pushing a technology that can encode data into a picture that is invisible to the human eye but can be decoded by a mobile phone with a camera.

The technique stems from a 2,500-year-old practice called steganography, which saw the Greeks sending warnings of attacks on wooden tablets and then covering them in wax and tattooing messages on shaved heads that were then covered by the regrowth of hair.

Fujitsu’s technique works by taking advantage of the sensitivities of the human eye, which struggles to see the colour yellow. A camera is perfectly sensitive to that yellow hue but the human eye doesn’t see it very well. Any camera, even those in mobile phones, can decode it very easily. Pictures printed with the technique look perfectly normal but a camera can see the code printed into the image.

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