Abstract

The ubiquitous QR codes and some similar barcodes are becoming
a convenient and popular approach to impromptu communication
between mobile devices and their surrounding
cyber-physical world. However, such codes suffer from two
common drawbacks: poor viewing experience and inability to
be identified through itself. In this work, we propose ARTCODE–
Adaptive Robust doT matrix barcode, which aims to
preserve ART and CODE features in one visual pattern. It
works on any surface (paper or electronic displays) and is
able to convert any image or any form of human-readable
contents (e.g., a picture, a logo, a slogan) into an ARTCODE.
It looks like an image which retains human-readable and aesthetically
pleasant contents, and in the meanwhile, it acts as
a QR code which conveys data bits over the visual channel.
The core enablers in ARTCODE are (1) the design of the colored
dot matrix for data embedding with little distortion from
the original image and (2) a comprehensive error correction
scheme which enhances decoding robustness against noises
and interferences from the original image in ARTCODE. We
implement ARTCODE with the receiver on Android phones
and the sender from a PC or a phone (it can be printed in
paper). We conduct extensive user survey and experiments for
evaluation. It validates the effectiveness and wide applicability
of ARTCODE: It works well with all of 197 images randomly
downloaded, covering representative categories of the grayscale
images, logos, colored ones with low/medium/strong
contrasts. The image quality is quite acceptable in a subjective
user-perception survey with 50 participants and data communication
accuracy achieves as high as 99% in almost all the cases
(> 96% raw accuracy in ARTCODE without error detection
and other schemes).