Switch-A-View Imaging embeds hidden messages

MAY 19--Xerox Corp. (Rochester, NY; www.xerox.com) scientists are demonstrating an experimental color printing technology that allows the printing of more than one image on top of another, while viewing only one at a time by exposing it to a specific color of light.

May 19th, 2003

MAY 19--Xerox Corp. (Rochester, NY;www.xerox.com) scientists are demonstrating an experimental color printing technology that allows the printing of more than one image on top of another, while viewing only one at a time by exposing it to a specific color of light. They claim that this is the first time that alternating high-quality printed color images have been displayed by controlling the light.

Called "Switch-A-View" printing, the illuminant multiplexed imaging technology could allow companies to embed hidden pictures or messages in printed objects such as printed documents. The technology, shown at the recent Society for Imaging Science and Technology's PICS 2003 Conference, was developed by Steven Harrington, Robert Loce, Gaurav Sharma, and Juliet Zhang--Xerox color scientists at the company's Webster, NY, research complex.

The new technology aims at magnifying different responses to different light sources. The result is that two entirely separate-and detailed-images can be printed on a single piece of paper, but only one of them will be seen under blue light, for example, and the other will be seen under red light. The scientists are able to create different effects with the hidden images, including 3-D and simple animation.

The patent-pending technique depends on specialized color-management software and switching back and forth between different light sources, and it requires the use of a calibrated printer and what scientists call "a characterized illuminant"--light from a specific, narrow-wavelength band. The technology grew out of the company's extensive investigations in color science.

A possible use for the new Switch-A-View technology includes security and authentication applications to foil potential counterfeiters. Xerox has applied for patents on illuminant multiplexed imaging, and the technology is available for license.

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