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This is for an art project, but I want the science to be solid.

I'd like to be able to display an arbitrary data file (actually looking to contain a sound file, but don't want typical audio graphs). My first though was something like a QR code but they are limited to a few thousand bytes of information which is a 3 orders of magnitude lower than I need.

I'd like the method of display to be lossless and something that could (at least in theory) be retrieved from a printed image.

Is there anything like this out there?

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This question is probably more suited for another stack exchange.

To answer your question: I don't know of automated tools that turn a sound file (what format?) into an image, but they probably exist. If you're making the tool yourself, there are (near) infinite number of ways to visualize it, since your question boils down to, "How do I visualize data?" and the answer to that is, "Well, it depends on how you want it to look."

Here's a simple way: An mxn matrix with a number of elements greater than the number of bits in the sound file, with each element taking the value of 0 or 1. For example, 1 MB = 8M bits, so a 3000x3000 matrix, which has 9M elements, could represent all 1 MB of data. Of course it'd just look like noise. How you map bits to elements so that it makes a pleasing picture would take some artistry...

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