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bitmap graphics to lines

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Say I have a bitmapped picture, and I wanted to draw it with a device that is not a scanning device. The device has a constant brightness and slightly variable speed but changes direction quite slowly, so I have to plot a winding path around the bitmap image that will approximate the right exposure per-pixel. All obvious tricks like frequency transforms to obtain outline traces aside, how would I go about converting my bitmap image to a good path for said tracing device? Are there any good algorithms that I could use to do this? Any places I should look?

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