Print 24 comment(s) - last by feraltoad.. on Apr 17 at 10:20 PM

Viva Pinata discs don't actually have the color barcode...yet - Image courtesy SeattlePI
Microsoft develops color barcode that consumers can read with their cell phones

Just as televisions have once evolved, the long-standing monochromatic barcode could soon be getting the bump to color. Microsoft has developed what it calls High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) technology is licensing it to the International Standard Audiovisual Number International Agency (ISAN-IA). The HCCB technology will be used to assist in the identification of commercial audiovisual works such as motion pictures, video games, broadcasts, digital video recordings and other media.

"The capability of these new bar codes to store more data in a smaller space should provide a rich resource for the industry and consumers alike," said Gavin Jancke, director of engineering for Microsoft Research and inventor of the HCCB format. "The new code offers several advantages over existing black-and-white bar codes most people are accustomed to seeing on product packages, enabling new consumer experiences, more visual appeal where aesthetics are important and the ability to incorporate advanced security features."

Current ISAN codes allow an audiovisual work to be uniquely distinguished from other works through a simple identification system, but they do not allow additional features or functions to be incorporated. For the consumer, such features could be such as product versioning, ratings identification, parental control, product availability, special releases, contests, pricing and promotions. On the publisher side, new functionality could be detailed data that can aid in royalty payments, anti-counterfeiting efforts and market analysis.

Microsoft said that consumers may soon be able to interact with the new barcodes by scanning the code with webcams and camera phones to extract the added information. Eventually, consumers should be able to scan the new, smaller bar codes directly from television, PC screens, movie posters, DVD and CD jewel cases, magazine ads and billboards to retrieve additional information.

The colored barcode will also involve physical measures against counterfeiting by incorporating nanotechnology that is invisibly embedded within the material and ink of the code and product packaging.

The new multicolor bar code is expected to start appearing on DVD media toward the end of 2007.

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sounds like...
By bobsmith1492 on 4/16/2007 9:18:31 AM , Rating: 2
CueCat! :D Anyone remember those?

RE: sounds like...
By Spivonious on 4/16/2007 9:29:27 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, they failed because not many people had Internet access, let alone portable Internet access. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

RE: sounds like...
By kalgriffen on 4/16/2007 10:37:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, had nothing to do with how easy it is to modify them to use with any barcode.

RE: sounds like...
By Kefner on 4/16/2007 10:31:49 AM , Rating: 2
HAHA, I was about to say the same thing!

RE: sounds like...
By NARC4457 on 4/16/2007 10:51:26 AM , Rating: 2
I actually still have one that I use periodically....

RE: sounds like...
By bhieb on 4/16/2007 11:33:25 AM , Rating: 2
Me too. I don't think it was the lack of internet that plauged them, but the radioshac crapware that came with them.

RE: sounds like...
By feraltoad on 4/17/2007 10:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
I had one too, I wish I could find it maybe I thru it away since I didn't use it. But it was neat. Too bad there isn't a UPC code database in Wikipedia. You can use a cuecat to import DVDs into DVD Profiler now that someone created some drivers for it.

Think geek has this. It's wireless! and $300 bux.

I'm more excited about when RFID is common and u can keep inventory in your pantry, dvds, etc.

flawed. . .
By Crazyeyeskillah on 4/16/2007 11:27:50 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see any type of back up number scheme for manual (aka human) identification. This is a nice idea but far too expensive to integrate into current stores/warehouses. Businesses would require new and old scanning equipment, and from how it looks, people are not going to want to spend extra cash JUST to read microsoft sku's. Why complicate a happily working standard? More money for microsoft.

RE: flawed. . .
By Hare on 4/16/2007 11:48:00 AM , Rating: 2
It's not even hinted that this would replace the old barcodes. This is additional information. Old barcodes would still remain and be used by checkout lines.


Microsoft says the idea isn't to replace the traditional UPC barcodes used in checkout lines, but to supplement them.

"It's more of a 'partner' bar code," said Gavin Jancke, the Microsoft Research engineering director who invented the High Capacity Color Barcode. "The UPC bar codes will always be there. Ours is more of a niche bar code where you want to put a lot of information in a small space."

RE: flawed. . .
By TomZ on 4/16/2007 1:25:29 PM , Rating: 2
Bar codes are going the way of the dinosaur anyway - to be completely replaced by RFID.

By BMFPitt on 4/16/2007 9:31:03 AM , Rating: 2
"The new code offers several advantages over existing black-and-white bar codes most people are accustomed to seeing on product packages, enabling new consumer experiences, more visual appeal where aesthetics are important and the ability to incorporate advanced security features."
WOW! A new barcode system with color! This is going to change my life! Come one Microsoft, don't overdramatize it. Just let it be what it is.

By Tsuwamono on 4/16/07, Rating: -1
By Hare on 4/16/2007 11:25:17 AM , Rating: 3
WOW! A new barcode system with color! This is going to change my life! Come one Microsoft, don't overdramatize it. Just let it be what it is.

Well actually... If you can just take a photo of the "barcode" with your cellphone and instantly see additional information of the product I think it does enable new consumer experiences.

This is nothing new however. Well maybe the colors are? I've seen these before and I believe around two years ago saw the first similar barcodes in ads. The barcodes were for consumers to get more information. Worked with built-in cellphone cameras and additional software.

You can see similar barcodes in processors etc. Squares that have smaller black squares inside.

By UzairH on 4/16/2007 9:28:32 AM , Rating: 2
My first reaction is: "pretty!" The standard black-on-white bar codes are pretty old and drab now, seeing colorful barcodes on products would be fun. And the added functionality for information encoding and retrieval promised by MS seems good - though I suspect some would take umbrage at the DRM consequences too...

By Adahiyast on 4/16/2007 9:40:03 AM , Rating: 2
Kudos to Microsoft for introducing something innovative for once!

RE: Kudos
By Belard on 4/16/07, Rating: 0
By klingon on 4/16/2007 1:18:11 PM , Rating: 2
Well they should have named it as "Signature Code"(jus a suggestion)... not bar-codes(it doesn't even look like a bar...more like overlapping triangles)......Advancement in such spheres is always plausible....cause current bar codes stores jus the id of the product...this limits them to store various other informations.

This isn't really new
By Belegost on 4/16/2007 3:22:11 PM , Rating: 2
This is just QR codes with color added to increase the data density.

I really don't think that simply using color is exactly innovative, since methods of data storage using color and pattern have recently been published.

not new
By daytrader7 on 4/16/2007 8:01:44 PM , Rating: 2
As a pevious poster said....nothing new here. A similar system is already in widespread use in Japan. It actually links the product to a webpage as well on your cellphone.It's kinda neat because you can do a comparative price search and see how much of a deal or rip-off the item you are about to buy is.

By Yeah Yeah on 4/16/07, Rating: -1
By Yeah Yeah on 4/16/07, Rating: 0
By Hare on 4/16/2007 11:16:56 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously. How much more do you think a product would cost with a better barcode?

Black and white barcodes work fine but what if you want to include more information? What's so bad with this type of barcode? Do you work for a competing company or something?

I personally wouldn't mind "scanning" a barcode with my cellphone to see the products webpage or let's say get a table of contents from a book.

This is not a substitute to the old B&W barcode that checkout lines use.

Btw. With that kind of language even if you had a point you would still sound like a moron.

By s12033722 on 4/16/2007 8:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, no. The point of color is not to look pretty, but rather to allow a single dot to carry more information. With black and white, a dot is either black or not black - two states, on or off. With color, the dot can be black, white, green, blue, or red (assuming they don't branch out into more colors). That's 5 states per dot now, which means more information in the same area.

sounds like...
By bobsmith1492 on 4/16/07, Rating: -1
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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