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A novel data hiding scheme, denoted as unseen visible watermarking (UVW), is proposed. In UVW schemes, hidden information can be embedded covertly and then directly extracted using the human visual system as long as appropriate operations (e.g., gamma correction provided by almost all display devices or changes in viewing angles relative to LCD monitors) are performed. UVW eliminates the requirement of invisible watermarking that specific watermark extractors must be deployed to the receiving end in advance, and it can be integrated with 2-D barcodes to transmit machine-readable information that conventional visible watermarking schemes fail to deliver. We also adopt visual cryptographic techniques to guard the security of hidden information and, at the same time, increase the practical value of visual cryptography. Since UVW can be alternatively viewed as a mechanism for visualizing patterns hidden with least-significant-bit embedding, its security against statistical steganalysis is proved by empirical tests. Limitations and other potential extensions of UVW are also addressed.