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Input Devices Technology

Researchers Debut Barcode Replacement 185

eldavojohn writes "MIT Researchers have unveiled a new potential replacement for barcodes. Using an LED covered with a tiny mask and a lens, these new bokodes can be processed by a standard mobile phone camera and can encode thousands of times more information than your average barcode. New applications are being dreamed up by the team. Dr. Mohan of MIT said, 'Let's say you're standing in a library with 20 shelves in front of you and thousands of books. You could take a picture and you'd immediately know where the book you're looking for is.'"
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Researchers Debut Barcode Replacement

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  • by Kral_Blbec ( 1201285 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @11:43AM (#28838125)
    "Currently, the tags are expensive to produce - around $5 (£3) each. This is, in part, because the early prototypes require a lens and a powered LED. However, the researchers believe the technology could be refined so that tags were reflective and require no power. "We already have prototypes which are completely passive," said Dr Mohan. In this form, they could cost around 5 cents each, he added. "

    If thats true, maybe they do have potential.
  • by stickrnan ( 1290752 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @11:48AM (#28838221)

    Don't get me wrong. The technology is interesting, albeit limited to battery life. But the images in the article look a lot like a series of datamatrix barcodes. These are already widely used in many industries.

  • by AP31R0N ( 723649 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:06PM (#28838607)

    Did you catch the part about the passive tags that don't needs LEDs or batteries?

  • by AP31R0N ( 723649 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:10PM (#28838675)

    Can a modmin please edit the summary to include the passive bokodes that DON'T need batteries? About half of the repliers to this thread DNWtFV*, and missed that bit.

  • by KrEdBu ( 1606591 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:34PM (#28839149)
    Mmmm, my cell phone (android) has been able to read barcodes for quite some time now... why exactly do they feel that you need to have a special barcode for that?
  • by wjousts ( 1529427 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:34PM (#28839155)
    They said the same thing about lasers when they were first invented.
  • by Anonymous Psychopath ( 18031 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:48PM (#28839431) Homepage

    Oh yay. Lets fill our landfills with more useless crap. Why the hell do I need LED's and battery is PACKAGING? They go into the trash! We as a society are trying to move towards LESS PACKAGING and recyclable packaging not MORE packaging. Is the consumer expected to rip out that LED and battery and recycle that separate for ever single ceral box they purchase?

    You'll sound more informed if you actually read the article.

    "We already have prototypes which are completely passive," said Dr Mohan.

  • RTFA (Score:2, Informative)

    by mrobin604 ( 70201 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:47PM (#28840511)

    "However, the researchers believe the technology could be refined so that tags were reflective and require no power. "

  • Some clarifications (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:54PM (#28840615)

    Disclaimer: I am one of the authors of the paper.

    The story title and summary are a little unfortunate. We do not imagine the Bokode to replace traditional barcodes anytime soon. However, the real strength of the Bokode are:

    - you get extremely accurate pose estimation of the camera relative to the Bokode. This means that the camera knows its position relative to the Bokode. This is something a standard barcode just does not provide. This opens up interesting applications in the areas of augmented reality, motion capture, and human-computer interaction (such as multiple people interacting with a large display from a distance).

    - they are nearly imperceptible to humans, yet can be read by a standard camera. Unlike RFIDs, you don't need to carry an RFID reader. You can read them with a standard camera, or even by looking into them with your eye really close to the Bokode.

    - We are actively working on completely passive and flat bokode prototypes, and have some results with passive bokodes in the paper.

  • by B Nesson ( 1153483 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:55PM (#28840635)
    For the record, every LED in the matrix displays at Times Square couldn't easily have anything applied, at least not more than once. I used to work in the factory that made most of those signs. Maybe they could implement something up in electrical assembly that could spray something on once, when the display mods are being produced, but A) there'd be no point, since you couldn't change it or resell that ad space, B) it would reduce the intensity of each LED, and C) it would likely reduce the overall lifespan of each LED. It was common enough to have to rub off potting material from the tips of the LEDs, I don't even want to imagine the hurdles involved in something like that. Besides all of which, the whole idea with the development of those displays is to make each LED smaller, to increase the sign resolution, which is going to make it even more impossible to cram any information in.
  • by asdf7890 ( 1518587 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @08:51AM (#28850471)
    There are also a small pile of inductive power transfer technologies for low power devices that are claimed to be ready for market RealSoonNow(tm). I'd prefer that to people using camera flashes all the time in the library.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin