Fujitsu has developed a new steganographic way that allows to hide a 12-digit number within a 1cm square of printed material.
Their development allows to hide numerical information in a colour image and this information can later be accessed via a camera. This procedure is known as steganography.
This involves altering an image so that the info can not be seen by the human eye, but it can be detected electronically.
This would allow data such as phone numbers or a URL to be planted into a poster, a magazine advert or business card. To extract the information, a user would just have to point their camera phone or PDA at the image -- as long as the device was configured to find the hidden message.
Fujitsu says that consumers could even use its steganographic procedure to add embedded information to personal photos, and print them out at home.
The Japanese manufacturer is now working to make its procedure more user-friendly. It is also keen to collaborate with mobile phone companies and content providers, in an attempt to get the technology to market.