Watermarking Technology and Research

Much to my surprise I have received email queries requesting the old watermarking paper that was on the old site be made available again. Without further ado here it is, in all of it’s antiquated glory.

I am also receiving queries for information about watermarking, both video and audio. Frankly, if one wants to pick my brain, I suggest hiring me as a consultant.

That said, I believe some queries are simply engineers looking for resources. I thought I’d outline what I do when trying to ramp up on cutting edge research where the end game is actually innovation in the area. Other engineers might do things differently or better, but this is what has worked for me.

First, I do a Google search, Wikipedia read and I call this the superficial newbies and morons informational hunt. I try to just get almost a marketing feel for the concept. What is it, what is it for, what is the basic technique, where does it go, where it is in R&D currently. I also hunt for code snippets, Matlab scripts and try to play with those scripts, write a few lines of code, just get a technical feel for various approaches. I don’t spend a lot of time doing this, maybe a day tops.

Then, the fun comes in. I run down to a University Research library and utilize the vast databases, journal subscriptions of the Academic system and do a literature search. I also perform a patent search on Google patents and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The tricky thing with patents is to make sure my newly formed vague great grand idea and concept has not already been patented. If it is, well, move on and realize great minds think alike. Yet the patent databases are also a good place to review other ideas and evaluate them. It’s also a great place to see what I do not know and do not understand. If I really cannot comprehend a patent, I then go look up, even in an Academic text what I am missing, what equation, what paragraph, what diagram, to understand the paper or patent I’m attempting to digest.

After a literature search, if I find a gem, I might dig in to that particular paper, but very often I am learning about the technology utilized and mulling ideas and approaches from others. I actually move on from the literature review to finding my own approach versus study someone’s work until I could “Ace the test” on it.

One can even take someone’s idea from a literature search and code it up in Matlab to see how well it works if the brain gears still are not turning. But generally speaking, this is the point I am writing code to learn more about the technology area I’m exploring as well as writing some code to see if my approach and idea is even feasible.

For me, I find writing up some code, drawing a block diagram, even breadboarding a circuit, trying something, is the way I figure out what’s going on. Even if my first efforts are huge fails, I learn something by doing instead of just thinking. I get something on paper, screen, digital bits, somewhere. If I stay stuck in my head, the idea and concept stays there too instead of to prototype.

The above is just a little bit and I hope it helps someone out there. I guess a key is to not be afraid, not be shy. It is our right as engineer explorers to be dumber than a box of rocks and technically clueless periodically. In other words, don’t be afraid of these massively complex engineering research areas. One foot in front of the other, even while banging around in the dark has always gotten me somewhere.

Hey man, turn the light on!