RIT Researchers Seek to Quantify Quality

Development of new device enhances measurement of print image quality

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Researchers in Rochester Institute of Technology’s Print Research and Imaging Systems Modeling Lab have developed a device that greatly enhances the measurement of print image quality. The micro-goniophotometer, designed and built by laboratory staff, measures the optical phenomenon known as gloss, which is used in the print industry to measure material appearance and image quality. The device specifically relates instrumental measurements to the characteristics of gloss and gloss variation.

“Since the invention of the printing press, researchers have been trying to combine the ‘left-brain’ need to measure and analyze performance with the ‘right-brain’ understanding of what looks good,” notes Jon Arney, an associate professor of imaging science and member of the research team. “The characterization of gloss is one technique that has been developed to address this challenge, but traditional gloss meters have provided insufficient information to fully characterize the phenomenon.”

According to Arney, the micro-goniophotometer improves upon previous measurement techniques by providing a 180-degree range, which is double that of normal gloss meters. The increased trajectory allows for the measurement of specular light over a number of angles and spatial dimensions, greatly improving the accuracy of the results. An analysis of the device’s performance is provided in the July/August issue of the Journal of Imaging Science and Technology and includes a comparison to traditional measurement techniques.

The research team has also worked with a number of imaging companies, including Hewlett Packard, to implement the device in manufacturing operations and is investigating further commercialization opportunities. In addition, the International Standards Organization, a global body that provides industry standards for the printing and imaging sectors, is currently looking to implement the micro-goniophotometer as one of its chief methods for gloss measurement. The team also hopes to ultimately design a portable version of the device, which will enhance its usability and reduce costs.

“The measurement of gloss is a key component in the development of printed images and it is my hope that the dissemination of the micro-goniophotometer will enhance both research in the field as well as the overall quality of printing,” says Arney.