BreakThrough Interview

Invisible code "Screen code" speeds up IoT conversion with high security for printed matter.Apollo Japan Co., Ltd.


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"Guide map printed with screen code" in which explanation can be seen with animation if the photograph of an animal is read with a particular application.


  • Overcoming the disadvantages of bar codes and QR codes
  • The general purpose is not exclusive use is the clue of popularization
  • High-security performance that can not be modified

The third generation code using the latest technology is "Invisible "

First-generation "Barcode" that links information such as price to products, second-generation that can be read with cameras such as smartphones and can link many items to things like magazines and books, admission tickets, business cards, etc. "QR code". Both have convenience and are 2-dimensional code spread all over the world.
However, they also have disadvantages. It is necessary to have a space to draw the code.
If it is a general distribution product, it is necessary to incorporate the code in the package, which may cause trouble in the design aspect. Also, when used for applications such as magazines, the code will be allocated limited space.If it is a general distribution product, it is necessary to incorporate the code in the package, which may cause trouble in the design aspect. Also, when used for applications such as magazines, the code will be allocated limited space.

Apollo Japan Co., Ltd., which has been involved in the development and sale of CTP systems for printing and printed circuit boards, has created code that is invisible by about 10 years of research and development to break the disadvantages of 2D code.
Notice that the screen code is perforated for each color when printing 4 colors.
By embedding the code as information capable of recognizing a beautiful halftone dot of about 260 μm (0.26 mm) in one of the four plates, it was possible to print a code difficult to discriminate with the naked eye. That is, even though the code is published, it is invisible". The fact that it can not be seen does not require particular space such as QR code or barcode, so it does not hinder the design side.

Versatility of the destination that has confirmed the convenience

Initially, when the screen code was created, it was necessary to have a "Hard-wired pen" to read the code. However, we focused on the use of smartphones as a code reader to enhance the spread of screen codes and convenience, developed reading of screen codes with attachment type macro lenses and dedicated applications. Also, it is now possible to understand with only the camera mounted on the smartphone without using the attachment.

If it can be read by a smartphone, there is no need to add cost to dedicated hardware, so the hurdle to introduce screen code is low. Also, code embedding in the printed matter does not require specialized equipment or complicated process at the time of printing, so there is no worry of introduction cost or printing cost. It will be beneficial not only for users but also for companies.

Security precision because it can not be seen

The merit of using screen codes cannot stop only on design. Security characteristics obtained from features such as "Invisible things" in screen codes and "Falsification impossible because they are printed matter" is also attractive.

For example, there are problems such as the sideways flow of goods by some intermediaries. Even if the production number etc. is printed at present, it becomes hard to understand where the part flowed out from by cutting it out or painting it out. However, since it is impossible to perform concealment work etc. unless it is printed as an invisible code on the package and its existence has not been revealed, it can be useful for preventing problems such as sideways flow.
We have acquired and applied for more than 100 patents related to screening codes, it is adopted as a passport in China before pioneering Japan, and since information similar to the IC tag is printed as a screen code, the high security has been proved.

If it is a printable item, you can use the screen code. For example, if you embed a screen code in a map or guide board, you can provide more convenient directions guidance by not only text but also audio and video.
For further seniors, if you embed them in switches or buttons that are complicated in operation, you will be able to see a detailed explanation in movies from smartphones and tablets without turning over full instructions.
Also, the security performance of being unreadable by the naked eye, which is one of the features of the screen code, can not be found out that there is information there unless it knows that the code is printed. In the time when leakage problems of private information and confidential data are being handled, there is a possibility of further action.

company information

Apollo Japan Co., Ltd.

Apollo Japan is undertaking research, development, application and manufacture of various techniques "to connecting Human, Thing and Information" including a patent technology "screen code" which embed an "invisible code" in printed materials as a code, "Image To Code" (ITC) to recognize the image as code connecting with Information, and so on always forecasting the current needs and trend and aiming at the helpful advanced technology development for life.

Apollo Japan is conducting Technology development aiming and realizing "the comfortable life" in "the near future" where everyone, from a child to an elderly person, can lead to information.

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