Technology to embed inconspicuous codes onto paper

In recent years, codes such as two-dimensional codes and barcodes can be applied to printouts as a way of adding information to paper documents. However, in order to add these codes, a space must be prepared in the document. Fuji Xerox has developed MISTCODE (Micro-dot Iterated and Superimposed Tag CODE), which is an inconspicuous code that can be printed onto the background of documents in the form of extremely small dots that contain information (Fig. 1). With MISTCODE, information can be embedded in a document without changing its layout or affecting its image quality.


Fig. 2 shows how MISTCODE is generated and used. First, the ID of an electronic document and other information identifying that document are registered together in a database. Then, the information is encodedNote1 and a code image is generated. This code image is finally merged into the background of the electronic document and printed out. To use a document with MISTCODE printed onto it, first the document with the code image is scanned using a multifunction device. Next, the scanned document is analyzed, and the code image in the background retrieved. Then, the code image is decodedNote2 to obtain the original information. Finally, the document ID is sent to the database, where the profile of the printed document is identified.

Fig. 2: Generating and using MISTCODE

MISTCODE consists of dots positioned according to a certain rule. The same dot pattern containing information is repeated multiple times on the document so that it covers a large area, which means that even if parts of the document are missing, the information can be retrieved and the document identified.

This technology is expected to have applications for supporting systems used in university classes. For example, by embedding MISTCODE into documents for students to fill out by hand before passing them out, the filled out documents can later be scanned and stored in an e-PortfolioNote3 where they can be useful later.

  • Note1 Encoding refers to the process of converting information into image data.
  • Note2 Decoding refers to the process of converting image data into information.
  • Note3 An e-Portfolio is a platform where content used for students' academic work can be stored electronically. Because an e-portfolio can record a student's entire history of academic work, it can be used to help them reflect upon their studies or plan future studies.