I recently read a news article online about a company who have developed a new type of barcode that is revolutionary in encoding visual information. It is designed to revolutionise the way information is encoded and items are tagged.

There are three ways, up until now, of encoding visual information. The first is through ordinary imagery, the second through temporal variations like flashing lights, or moving images, and finally, using fibre-optic systems using variations in light wavelength. The Bokode way of encoding would use a standard camera altered so it focuses on infinity, rather than on a particular object in front of it. This means that it is able to pick up the tiny Bokode on an object, which would otherwise be almost invisible to the naked eye.

The barcode, or Bokode, as it is called is tiny compared to the standard size of say a 1D barcode. It is designed to overcome the problem of identifying an object without having to place a one inch sized barcode on it and thus making it an aesthetically pleasing. For example a museum may want to identify their artefacts, but they cannot put a large 1D barcode, like you see in the supermarket, on to the object as it would interfere with the look of the object to visitors.

Unlike a traditional barcode, a camera can only read a portion of the barcode at one particular time. The Bokode pattern can hold the identification code of the object, and other information, such as description. The barcode is tiled and each of the codes holds information on the object.

This new development in barcode technology is still in the early stages and has a long way to come but this is something that could be widely used if it takes off. Museums would be able to identify and track their artefacts without compromising on appearance. Customers would be able to use their own camera to read the barcodes on items in the store, and it would greatly help in mapping streets, with shops having the tiny barcode on the shop front.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG7vXI1I1wg

The Rugged and Mobile blog.