patents

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Scroll through our list of patents below and see how we are moving the science of imaging forward.

Methods and apparatus for identifying labels and/or information associated with a label and/or using identified information

Inventors: Robert M. Nally, Edward R. Krajcik, Jeffrey M. Hodges

Issue Date: 09/13/16
C2: Issued
Patent #: 9,443,139

Methods and apparatus for detecting labels included in a document or other binarized image, and for extracting and/or using information associated with a label, are described. A nodal structure modeling objects, e.g., characters, character strings or words, which make up various label aliases are described. The nodal structure is used to generate a score for portions of a binarized document with the scores being used to determine the presence or absence of one or more label aliases. When a label alias is determined to be present, information is extracted from the document and used as information corresponding to a label to which the identified label alias corresponds. Multiple different label aliases may correspond to a single label allowing multiple different aliases to be used to identify the same information. The label aliases and information extraction can be and sometimes used to extract information from scanned forms.


Methods and apparatus for locating lines in images and using located lines to make image adjustments

Inventors: Stephen A. Martucci, William Douglas Withers

Issue Date: 05/10/16
C2: Issued
Patent #: 9,336,455

Methods and apparatus for identifying lines in an image are described. An image to be processed is divided into a plurality of tiles, and processing is performed on a per tile basis. Lines are identified in tiles and a weight is assigned to each line based on among other things, the length of the line. Quantized first and second parameter values, e.g., values defining where lines enters and leave an area, are used in defining the identified lines. A set of lines is selected based on the weight information and output or used in image processing the image including the lines.


Methods and apparatus for adaptive auto image binarization

Inventors: John Elton, Stephen Martucci

Issue Date: 05/05/15
C2: Issued
Patent #: 9,025,897

Bi-level pixel values are generated from a set of input pixel values corresponding to an image. Various described methods and apparatus are well suited for applications with limited computational capability and/or limited available resources to be used for performing image processing. Corresponding to an individual input pixel being processed, a plurality of windows including the pixel are evaluated to determine statistics including a variance for each window. Based upon the determined variances, one of a plurality of binarization threshold generation functions is selected. A binarization threshold for the input pixel is determined using the selected binarization threshold generation function. A bi-level pixel value is generated based on a comparison of the input pixel value to the generated binarization threshold. In various embodiments, the binarization threshold determination functions use non-zero integer powers of one or more variances, and intentionally avoid performing a square root operation, thus limiting computational complexity.


Image coding and decoding methods and apparatus

Inventor: Thomas Richter

Issue Date: 03/17/15
C2: Issued
Patent #: 8,983,213

Methods and apparatus for coding and/or decoding bitplanes of individual codeblocks are described. Aspects relate to speeding up bitplane decoding when one or more decoders are used as part of the decoding process and one or more consistent value bitplanes were coded at the start of a codeblock. A number F, e.g., of consistent value, e.g., zero value, bitplanes are identified as corresponding to the beginning of an encoded codeblock being processed. Based on the determination a predetermined output, e.g., zero values corresponding to F bitplanes, is output. Thus, the output corresponding to the F consistent value bitplanes can be produced without having to perform a full arithmetic decoding process to generate the decoded data corresponding to the F consistent value bitplanes. Remaining bitplanes of a codeblock including data are subjected to decoding using one or more decoder modules which maybe part of a JPEG 2000 compliant decoder.


Methods and apparatus for identifying punch holes in images

Inventor: William Douglas Withers

Issue Date: 07/22/14
C2: Issued
Patent #: 8,824,822

Methods and apparatus for processing one or more images, e.g., images representing pages including text, to detect and in some instances correct the orientation of the page. In some embodiments the methods and apparatus for processing image data comprise generating a histogram of foreground pixel counts corresponding to a current line of text of the image being processed with the foreground pixel counts corresponding to different rows of pixels corresponding to the current line of text and identifying based on statistical analysis of the generated histogram whether the current page of text is oriented in an inverted or non-inverted position. In some embodiments analysis is performed on multiple lines of text with cumulative statistics being used in to determine the orientation of the page. In some embodiments, a page whose orientation is determined to be upside down is re-oriented to be right-side up.


Methods and apparatus for determining and/or modifying image orientation

Inventor: William Douglas Withers

Issue Date: 07/22/14
C2: Issued
Patent #: 8,787,702

Methods and apparatus for processing one or more images, e.g., images representing pages including text, to detect and in some instances correct the orientation of the page. In some embodiments the methods and apparatus for processing image data comprise generating a histogram of foreground pixel counts corresponding to a current line of text of the image being processed with the foreground pixel counts corresponding to different rows of pixels corresponding to the current line of text and identifying based on statistical analysis of the generated histogram whether the current page of text is oriented in an inverted or non-inverted position. In some embodiments analysis is performed on multiple lines of text with cumulative statistics being used in to determine the orientation of the page. In some embodiments, a page whose orientation is determined to be upside down is re-oriented to be right-side up.


Methods and apparatus for rendering images

Inventors: Roderick A. McMullen, David Hilsabeck

Issue Date: 02/25/14
C2: Issued
Patent #: 8,659,620

To facilitate rendering an image, e.g., a portion of a PDF page, at higher resolutions or locations than could be expressed using standard 32 bit fixed point integer values, an image is segmented and a user space coordinate system origin used for individual segment processing is transformed on a per segment basis to each segment locality before a render request is made to a rendering function library. After a new origin of a segment is established, the PDF page content contained within that locality corresponding to the individual segment being processed is rendered, e.g., using functions available in the PDF software library. The results of processing the segments is combined to produce a final high-resolution image. While the input to the rendering process may include values which can not be expressed in 32 bit fixed point notation, the segmentation process allows the individual segments to be rendered using rendering specified using such notation.


Methods and apparatus for locating target patterns in an image

Inventor: John Reynolds

Issue Date: 01/21/14
C2: Issued
Patent #: 8,634,651

Methods and apparatus for efficiently locating QR code finder patterns and/or code QR alignment patterns in an image are described.


Image encoding methods and apparatus providing improved visual results

Inventor: Thomas Richter

Issue Date: 10/15/13
C2: Issued
Patent #: 8,559,742

Microsoft’s recently proposed new image compression codec JPEG XR is currently undergoing ISO standardization as JPEG-XR. Even though performance measurements carried out by the JPEG committee indicated that the PSNR performance of JPEG XR is competitive, the visual performance of JPEG XR showed notable deficits, both in subjective and objective tests. This paper introduces various techniques that improve the visual performance of JPEG XR without leaving the current codestream definition. Objective measurements performed by the author indicate that the modified encoder, while staying backwards compatible to the current standard proposition, improves visual performance significantly, and the performance of the modified encoder is similar to JPEG.


Encoding methods and apparatus including buffer rate control

Inventor: Thomas Richter

Issue Date: 05/07/13
C2: Issued
Patent #: 8,437,565

Methods and apparatus for performing image encoding and rate control as part of the image encoding process, e.g., a JPEG-2000 compliant image encoding process, are described. As part of the image encoding processes, rate control operations are performed based on rate statistic information at a point where encoded image data in selected for storage in a buffer and based on updated statistic information at a point where encoded image data is selected to be output from the buffer. The statistic information including overhead information used for rate control is also updated after formatting of data to be included in the output set of encoded image data to reflect overhead, e.g., header overhead, associated with formatting the data for storage. Encoding and rate control is applied on an ongoing basis, e.g., as portions of an image are processed, so that buffer size does not grow proportionally with the image size.


Methods and apparatus for generating and using visual error weights

Inventor: Thomas Richer

Issue Date: 01/08/13
C2: Issued
Patent #: 8,351,723

A low complexity visual masking method used as part of an image encoding process is described. The method is suitable for use in JPEG2000 image compression systems. Control weights used for rate allocation are generated based on integer order moments of wavelet transformed coefficients corresponding to a codeblock. The novel rate allocation weight generation method can, and in some embodiments is, combined with an apriori rate allocation algorithm, where allocation of bits to different portions of images is controlled as a function of one or more generated weights. The methods and apparatus of the present invention have the effect of increasing errors in busy areas of an image where they tend to be less noticeable and allocating a higher number of bits to less busy areas than some other systems, e.g., systems which attempt to minimize a mean squared error under a constraint of a user selected output rate.


Methods and apparatus for auto image binarization

Inventors: Dalong Li, John Elton, Sebastian Steger

Issue Date: 01/08/13
C2: Issued
Patent #: 8,351,699

A threshold determination method is selected from among a plurality of alternative global thresholding determination methods and, optionally, a local thresholding determination method based on characteristics of a histogram of grayscales values representing an image. When it is determined to use a global thresholding method, a single global binarization threshold value is determined using the selected global thresholding method. Various alternative global binarization threshold values include a predetermined constant, an average value of the two grayscale values, an Otsu method based threshold value, a Newton method based threshold value, and an Otsu method based threshold value based on a truncated version of the histogram. When it is determined to use local thresholding, a plurality of local binarization threshold values are determined corresponding to different non-overlapping blocks of the image. The determined binarization threshold(s) are applied to the gray scale pixel values to obtain a set of binary pixel values.


Methods and apparatus for performing image binarization

Inventors: Erica Drew Cooksey, William Douglas Withers

Issue Date: 07/03/12
C2: Issued
Patent #: 8,213,735

Methods and apparatus for binarizing images represented by sets of multivalent pixel values in a computationally efficient manner are described In a grayscale image to be binarized, one group of pixel values represents “foreground”, e.g., text to be converted to black, while another group represents a shaded “background” region to be converted, e.g., to white. The difference between foreground and background is often a function of the scale of the image components, e.g., text and/or other images. Filters in the form of morphological operators, computationally efficient quick-open and quick-close morphological operators are employed to binarize images, e.g., grayscale images. The methods and apparatus effectively handle both smooth and sharp image background structures in a computationally efficient manner.


Method and apparatus for identifying the rotation angle and bounding rectangle of a digitized form

Inventor: Garland S. Taylor

Issue Date: 10/19/10
C2: Issued
Patent #: 7,817,854

Methods and apparatus for determining the skew angle of a digitized form scanned at an angle to the original page are described. The method determines a rotation angle and a boundary rectangle of best fit. Sections of the digital image in the form of thin strips are examined for the boundary between the page and the region of the scanned image beyond the original page. The Hough transform is employed to determined candidate edge line segments for the page from the sets of perimeter points. These line segments are then combined to select the best rectangle enclosing the page, from which the skew angle is determined. The algorithm also determines a rotated bounding box enclosing the page. An innovation of the invention is the use of fuzzy logic, whereby several candidates for perimeter points, candidate edges, and bounding rectangles are determined in each step of the computation with associated confidence values and the final skew angle is selected by choosing the bounding rectangle with the highest confidence values.


Method and apparatus for identifying and/or removing combs from scanned images

Inventor: Scot M. Alexander

Issue Date: 07/13/10
C2: Issued
Patent #: 7,756,340

Methods and apparatus for detecting the presence of combs, determining their shape and removing the combs from a scanned form in an automated manner are described. Horizontal and vertical line feature analysis is combined with knowledge of the usual size, shape, and spacing characteristics of lines which form a comb. Vertical and horizontal lines failing to meet certain characteristics, e.g., size or shape characteristics, are eliminated from consideration. Vertical lines which do not intersect a horizontal line are also eliminated from consideration. Confidence measures for different possible comb shapes are generated and the most probable comb shapes as indicated by the confidence measures are included in a comb list. The comb list may be output for use in further processing, e.g., comb removal and/or data extraction processing.


Methods and apparatus for performing MQ-decoding operations

Inventor: John H. Elton

Issue Date: 10/27/09
C2: Issued
Patent #: 7,609,895

Methods and apparatus for providing JPEG decoder functions are described. In particular, features and methods of the present invention are directed to an efficient way of implementing a non-common decoding path function used in an MQ-coder, such as the type used to decode JPEG-2000 images. The methods of the present invention are well suited for implementation on general purpose computers such as conventional personal computers (PCs) and can provide improved decoding speed, compared to known systems which use processing branches as part of a non-common decoding path function by reducing and, in some implementations completely avoiding, branches. Thus, branch prediction penalties associated with known decoding schemes are reduced or avoided leading, in many cases, to faster decoding rates when using a general purpose processor of a given speed or computational capability.


Method and apparatus for recognizing a digitized form, extracting information from a filled-in form, and generating a corrected filled-in form

Inventor: William Douglas Withers

Issue Date: 02/03/09
C2: Issued
Patent #: 7,487,438

Methods and apparatus for comparing blank forms represented in a digital format to digitized filled-in forms are described. Different errors are attributed different weights when attempting to correlate regions of blank and filled-in forms. Foreground pixels in the blank form which are not found in a corresponding portion of a filled-in form are attributed greater error significance than foreground pixels, e.g., pixels which may correspond to added text, found in the filled-in form which correspond to a background pixel value in the blank form. A virtual filled-in form including content, e.g., pixel values, from the filled-in form is generated from the content of the filled-in form and pixel value location mapping information determined from comparing the blank and filled-in forms. Various analysis is performed on a block basis, but in some embodiments the final pixel mapping to the virtual form is performed on a pixel by pixel rather than a block basis.


Methods and apparatus for improving quality of block-transform coded images

Inventors: Stephen A. Martucci, John H. Elton

Issue Date: 11/18/08
C2: Issued
Patent #: 7,454,080

Block-based image processing methods and apparatus that provide a reduction in block-transform image coding artifacts are described. In various embodiments, the invention is directly incorporated into a decoding process. In such embodiments, transform coefficients are modified in simple but particularly effective ways that reduce or eliminate many of the artifacts that were caused by the quantization of the transform coefficients during encoding and/or by independent block processing during encoding. In other embodiments, the invention is used on an image that has already been decoded. In such embodiments image data values are directly modified in a block-based fashion or a forward block transform is applied and then the methods of the invention for processing transform coefficient blocks are used, followed by an inverse transform operation to generate pixel values from the resulting processed transform coefficient blocks.


Methods and apparatus for improving quality of block-transform coded images

Inventors: Stephen A. Martucci, John H. Elton

Issue Date: 08/05/08
C2: Issued
Patent #: 7,409,100

Block-based image processing methods and apparatus that provide a reduction in block-transform image coding artifacts are described. In various embodiments, the invention is directly incorporated into a decoding process. In such embodiments, transform coefficients are modified in simple but particularly effective ways that reduce or eliminate many of the artifacts that were caused by the quantization of the transform coefficients during encoding and/or by independent block processing during encoding. In other embodiments, the invention is used on an image that has already been decoded. In such embodiments image data values are directly modified in a block-based fashion or a forward block transform is applied and then the methods of the invention for processing transform coefficient blocks are used, followed by an inverse transform operation to generate pixel values from the resulting processed transform coefficient blocks.


Methods and apparatus for implementing JPEG 2000 encoding operations

Inventors: William Douglas Withers, John H. Elton, James R. Bean

Issue Date: 04/01/08
C2: Issued
Patent #: 7,352,903

Improved methods and apparatus for implementing JPEG 2000 MQ encoding operations are described. The following features of the invention may be used alone or in combination to implement JPEG 2000’s coefficient bit modeling 1) Lists of coefficients to be processed in one or more subsequent coding passes are generated as coefficients are processed. The list is allows processing in the subsequent coding pass to be limited to coefficients on the list; and 2) Generation, updating and use of a neighborhood descriptor value table that stores a neighborhood descriptor value for each coefficient of a block being processed. The neighborhood descriptor values provide information about the state of the coefficient and its adjacent neighbors. Neighborhood descriptor values are used to access a lookup table that provides one or more context values and/or sign value to be used in MQ encoding. The neighborhood descriptor value corresponding to a coefficient and the neighborhood descriptor values corresponding to coefficients adjacent the coefficient are updated when the coefficient becomes significant, e.g., a 1 is first encountered in the coefficient.


Methods and apparatus for improving quality of block-transform coded images

Inventors: Stephen A. Martucci, John H. Elton

Issue Date: 04/24/07
C2: Issued
Patent #: 7,209,594

Block-based image processing methods and apparatus that provide a reduction in block-transform image coding artifacts are described. In various embodiments, the invention is directly incorporated into a decoding process. In such embodiments, transform coefficients are modified in simple but particularly effective ways that reduce or eliminate many of the artifacts that were caused by the quantization of the transform coefficients during encoding and/or by independent block processing during encoding. In other embodiments, the invention is used on an image that has already been decoded. In such embodiments image data values are directly modified in a block-based fashion or a forward block transform is applied and then the methods of the invention for processing transform coefficient blocks are used, followed by an inverse transform operation to generate pixel values from the resulting processed transform coefficient blocks.


Method of enhancement of the visual display of images and other visual data records

Inventor: Artur Sowa

Issue Date: 03/20/07
C2: Issued
Patent #: 7,194,143

An digital image input, possibly being either pre-compressed or decompressed, is enhanced; its edges are preserved while any compression artifacts, like blocking and ringing, are simultaneously reduced. The enhancement method enhances images with luminance and chrominance functions, incompletely defined or undefined, on a set of pixels so that the missing information is extrapolated while the image is simultaneously enhanced. The method consists of up to three integrated sub-processes: the image sharpening flow; the de-quantization filtering; and the means of control of the local rate of flow. The image sharpening flow is an iterative nonlinear filtering schema intertwining a local median filter and a suitably chosen linear filter. A local geometric control mechanism allows selective application and adaptation of an algorithm allowing selective removal of local artifacts. De-quantization filtering ensures that the enhancement process does not alter information contained in the image beyond its quantization constraints.


Methods and apparatus for improving quality of block-transform coded images

Inventors: Stephen A. Martucci, John H. Elton

Issue Date: 02/21/06
C2: Issued
Patent #: 7,003,170

Block-based image processing methods and apparatus that provide a reduction in block-transform image coding artifacts are described. In various embodiments, the invention is directly incorporated into a decoding process. In such embodiments, transform coefficients are modified in simple but particularly effective ways that reduce or eliminate many of the artifacts that were caused by the quantization of the transform coefficients during encoding and/or by independent block processing during encoding. In other embodiments, the invention is used on an image that has already been decoded. In such embodiments image data values are directly modified in a block-based fashion or a forward block transform is applied and then the methods of the invention for processing transform coefficient blocks are used, followed by an inverse transform operation to generate pixel values from the resulting processed transform coefficient blocks.


Method of optical mark recognition

Inventor: Garland S. Taylor

Issue Date: 05/25/04
C2: Issued
Patent #: 6,741,738

There is provided herein a new method of identifying when a particular hand-drawn selection has been made on, for example, a standardized test form. This method does not require the use of any particular form nor does it use registration marks. It is robust enough to be used when the form is somewhat misaligned on the scanning device. This method utilizes a scanned “blank” form which is then compared with a form containing user markings thereon. As a first step, the user’s form is mathematically iteratively aligned with the scanned blank form. As a next step, a fine-scale refinement is applied to each individual “bubble” (i.e., response field) of the user’s form to bring that feature into near exact alignment with the same bubble on the blank form. Finally, a quantitative measure of the similarity between the blank and user forms is used to determine whether or not the user has made a mark on the form within that response region.


Systems and methods for digital image compression

Inventors: Scott J. Warner, Anatholy F. Dedkov

Issue Date: 04/03/01
C2: Issued
Patent #: 6,212,301

Systems and methods for compressing portions of a digital image, transmitting the compressed portions over a network, receiving them, decompressing them, and progressively displaying an image representing the original image. An encoder selects an interlaced portion of the original image based on a resolution factor and compresses each line of that portion by selecting the most efficient of multiple compression methods, including Group 3 and modified Group 4 coding schemes. Compressed portions of the original image are transmitted in successive stages, decompressed, and interlaced with the previously transmitted portions of the image, resulting in progressive enhancement of the transmitted, displayed image.


OCR image pre-processor

Inventors: Bruce B. Fast, Dana R. Allen

Issue Date: 07/07/98
C2: Issued
Patent #: 5,778,103

A method is provided for identifying, correcting, modifying and reporting imperfections and features in pixel images that prevent or hinder proper OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and other document imaging processes. One embodiment of this invention provides that run length compressed images can be analyzed and corrected directly for improved performance. Major steps included in this invention for the enhancement of images for OCR and document imaging are: The detection of undesired printed matter and the deletion of undesired printed matter. Detection of undesired printed matter includes successive generation of entries into an array listing of undesired printed matter to be deleted. Deletion of undesired printed matter follows in a separate step for all types of undesired printed matter.


OCR image free-processing method for image enhancement of scanned documents

Inventors: Bruce B. Fast, Dana R. Allen

Issue Date: 03/17/98
C2: Issued
Patent #: 5,729,635

A method is provided for identifying, correcting, modifying and reporting imperfections and features in pixel images that prevent or hinder proper OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and other document imaging processes. One embodiment of this invention provides that run length compressed images can be analyzed and corrected directly for improved performance. Major steps included in this invention for the enhancement of images for OCR and document imaging are: The detection of undesired printed matter and the deletion of undesired printed matter. Detection of undesired printed matter includes successive generation of entries into an array listing of undesired printed matter to be deleted. Deletion of undesired printed matter follows in a separate step for all types of undesired printed matter.


OCR image preprocessing method for image enhancement of scanned documents

Inventors: Bruce B. Fast, Dana R. Allen

Issue Date: 04/29/97
C2: Issued
Patent #: 5,625,719

For performing optical character recognition and other scanned document image processing the method for unshading dot shaded areas performs a statistical dot size analysis to determine the distribution of the dot sizes in the dot shaded area. In a separate step the most suitable dot size limitation is determined, followed by deleting dots falling within the so determined dot size limitation.


OCR image preprocessing method for image enhancement of scanned documents

Inventors: Bruce B. Fast, Dana R. Allen

Issue Date: 01/14/97
C2: Issued
Patent #: 5,594,814

In a run-length coded document image process a horizontal line in textual matter is eliminated by establishing a work zone around the horizontal line and a buffer zone of predetermined width around the work zone. All black-run-length artifacts that extend outside of the buffer zone are protected, this includes protecting information in the work zone when there is a matching artifact in the opposing buffer zone (Character Reconstruction). All black items that are within the work zone and the buffer zone, and which are not protected are eliminated.


OCR image pre-processor for detecting and reducing skew of the image of textual matter of a scanned document

Inventors: Bruce B. Fast, Dana R. Allen

Issue Date: 01/14/97
C2: Issued
Patent #: 5,594,817

A method is provided for identifying, correcting, modifying and reporting imperfections and features in pixel images that prevent or hinder proper OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and other document imaging processes. One embodiment of this invention provides that run length compressed images can be analyzed and corrected directly for improved performance. Major steps included in this invention for the enhancement of images for OCR and document imaging are: The detection, correction and reporting of skew from text or graphical lines. The detection, correction, and reporting of varying image registration. The detection, conversion and reporting of inverse type. The detection, removal and reporting of dot shading and lines with protection of characters.


OCR image preprocessing method for image enhancement of scanned documents

Inventors: Bruce B. Fast, Dana R. Allen

Issue Date: 01/14/97
C2: Issued
Patent #: 5,594,815

The process for enhancing images of scanned documents identifies a variety of items in the scanned document which could make optical character recognition and other document image processing difficult or impossible. These items include identifying skew, registration, speck, lines intersecting printed matter, reverse printing, shaded printed matter. The process allows to register such items, take steps to correct skew and image registration, as well as reverse invert printing. Items to be removed are listed for deletion in one step. The image of the scanned document is stored and processed as a run-lngth coded image, except for a some operations in which parts of the run length coded image are converted to pixel image code for particular substeps of the process. The result of such a substep, e.g. a modified image, is then re-converted to run-length code.


OCR image preprocessing method for image enhancement of scanned documents by reversing invert text

Inventors: Bruce B. Fast, Dana R. Allen

Issue Date: 11/26/96
C2: Issued
Patent #: 5,579,414

In a run-length represented image an image area with reverse print is recognized. Two borders (left and right) are determined and in a plurality of steps the run transitions are removed, first on the left border of the area and then at the right border of the area, causing all runs within the area of reverse print to take on the reverse color.