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Digital data forensic expert at NJIT to be feted by R&D council for data hiding patents

An expert in digital data forensics and information assurance, Yun Q. Shi, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at NJIT, will number among 30 New Jersey inventors from eight companies and universities to be honored at the upcoming 2010 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Awards on Nov. 4. Hosted by the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, the ceremony and reception will take place at the Liberty Science Center.

The honor recognizes outstanding work from New Jersey scientists and their respective organizations by highlighting the most exceptional efforts. Shi invented a method of robust reversible data hiding (known as steganography) which allows the original digital cover image to be recovered without any distortion once the hidden data has been extracted from the cover medium.

This technology, which earlier this year received four patents has promising applications in digital forensics, intellectual property security and the transmission of medical images. Other NJIT researchers working on this project were Zhicheng Ni, PhD, an NJIT alum who received his doctorate in 2005, and NJIT Professor Nirwan Ansari.

In 2009, Shi cracked the code that enabled researchers around the world to detect tampering with electronic images. "Using our program, we could usually inspect a photograph on a computer screen and know that someone has changed it," he said. "We still cannot say, nor can anyone else, where in the media the image has been changed. But we will get there."

"System and Method of Steganalysis," developed by Shi and his collaborator Guorong Xuan received a U.S. patent in 2009. The research had already been licensed. Since 2003, Shi has received 13 U.S. patents in this area including the new ones this year. For more information about the newest patents, please visit:

Yet more patents from him are coming. A prolific researcher, Shi awaits receiving awards for almost a dozen more pending U.S. patents. Steganalysis is a method of determining whether data has been hidden in a digital medium.

Image tampering came to the world's attention following changes to two widely-recognized images--a Los Angeles Times photo of the Iraqi War in 2003 and a BBC News image of the Israeli air strike against Beirut in 2006. Since then, Shi, who lectures worldwide, has made it his business to highlight new and better ways to detect tampering with electronic images. For more about this researcher and his work, please visit

In related news, NJIT professors and alumni were among the innovators honored recently at the 22nd Annual New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame Awards ceremony in Hoboken. Timothy Chang, PhD, distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a Special Award for his achievements in the areas of ultra-high precision systems, genetic systems, robotics and motion control. Shi was also recognized for all his work in digital forensics and security. Vikki Hazelwood, who received an MS from NJIT in 1998, received the Advancement of Invention Award for a pioneering process for translational research in medicine. Richard Caizza, who received a certificate in plastics technology from NJIT in 1992, received the Inventor of the Year award for his "Single-Handedly Actuatable Safety Shield for Needles" patent.


Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
New Jersey Institute of Technology

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