Tuesday, February 21, 2006

barcode image decoding software

Something that looks very clever and useful is technology from Scanbuy, which decodes images of barcodes captured using mobile devices. They have produced a couple of complete applications, including ScanZoom, which lets you scan a barcode on a product in a store and see a price comparison using PriceGrabber or Amazon. Sadly it doesn't look like the applications are available for the A780. They also have SDKs, including one in Java -- according to their developers' page, these are available for download, though the link didn't work for me.

I think it could be interesting to look into ways of using barcodes scattered in public places, maybe in conjunction with GPS, to pinpoint locations, associating information or opinions with places or objects. I think Frank mentioned the use of barcodes on posters to disseminate advertising information, but could barcodes be used as an entry point to digital 'repositories' in public places? A picture in an art gallery or an item on a restaurant's menu could have a barcode attached to it; you'd scan the barcode and your phone would look up opinions or comments made by previous viewers/diners. Then you could add your own. This would work especially well if any opinions recorded by your friends were presented first. That way, someone could recommend an exhibition to you, then you could go to the gallery at a convenient moment and it would be a bit like you'd gone with your friend, because you'd be able to hear some of their thoughts about the paintings.


Blogger Frank said...

The "bar" codes I was talking about are actually 2D images called QR codes and they are on just about everything in Japan, movie posters, vending machines, even passport stamps. The basically are a 3D way to encode any arbitrary text string. There are various QR code scanning applications available for the phone, including some in java as well.

8:03 PM  

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