Fujitsu to demonstrate "invisible messages" for camera phone users at Technology Forum

by Guy J Kewney | posted on 24 January 2006

Your phone can - in theory - read secret messages embedded in pictures - and at a technology forum next week, Fujitsu's research labs will be demonstrating steganography.

Normally, steganography is used by spies and copyright protection junkies, and the idea is that a picture can be subtly altered to include binary code, without the human eye being able to see it.

Anybody can put a watermark into a photo; it ruins the picture. Sure, it shows that the picture is copyright! but it also makes the picture look awful. What steganography can do, is hide the watermark from humans, while making it glaringly obvious for a digital camera.

The breakthrough that Fujitsu reported last July, was in being able to get this technology into a mobile phone.

The application? not copy protection, but extra product info. They are talking about "point your mobile phone camera at a product on the shelf, and it will read further information about it, and show you on screen" - list of ingredients, for example.

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