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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 FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @11:52AM (#28838299) Homepage
    I think libraries, cereal boxes and cell-phone-readers alike are going to be more interested in QR codes [].
  • by localman57 ( 1340533 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:29PM (#28839069)
    A bar code can be somewhat dirty or damaged and still work. I'm thinking that the first time some snotty-nosed little kid walks into the children's section of the library, he'll probably wipe out the ability of dozens of books to be scanned with his mucus-mist.
    It seems to me that even a small obstruction, dust, or damage to the led lens would wipe out a lot of the displable data of this led device.
  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:52PM (#28839503)

    but still stupidly expensive next to the near nothingness of a standard barcode.

    its lunacy

    That depends entirely on the application though. For uses that would require vastly larger amounts of data than a barcode or even QR code can convey, the bokode could be well worth the cost. It just depends on the return you're going to get from it. I think the case for putting them on cereal boxes is probably not a good one, but the example of using them on storefronts and buildings to allow information to be conveyed to services like Google would be a fantastic use for them.

  • by jhoger ( 519683 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:16PM (#28839917) Homepage

    RFID is very appropriate for this. It's short range... you just need to walk your reader by the stack it will tell you if it's there or not. That is, it's a heuristic that tells you whether you need to bother looking closer, which presumably would save time.

    Also, the reader + database could tell you if you are near a book which is in the wrong place, and which book it is. Then you look closer, pull the problem book for re-shelving.

  • by karstux ( 681641 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:36PM (#28840347) Homepage

    The Bokode pose estimate seems quite stable indeed, but then the comparison pose estimate (the "G" in the black square) seems to be willfully bad. I've seen better than that, if maybe not quite as stable as the Bokode example, with traditional 2D code matrices.

    Unfortunately, the 2-camera rig that they use (one focused at the scene, one at infinity) isn't exactly standard. And it probably won't work with cell phone cameras at all, since these are fixed-focus. Finally, if the camera has to move around a whole lot before it has seen the whole code, it probably isn't going to take off as a barcode replacement. Information at a glance is important in that area.

    Besides, I don't really see the need to visually encode a whole lot of information on an object. A small reference ID or an URL is enough, then anything can be looked up online without size restraints.

  • by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @04:13PM (#28842913)
    In Japan, all ads are tagged with a QR code (see parent link). All mobile phones can read this code via the mobile phone camera, and will refer you to more information via the internet. Even Big Macs are tagged with these codes, so you can look up nutritional information. Although this technology is cool, we can already do this with current technology, and it's already proven to work! What's even cooler with these Japanese mobile phones, is that you can even take picture of Japanese text, it will read it and convert it to text, which you translate over the internet. WTF doesn't the rest of the world that this technology!?!?

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