Microsoft developing a better and more colorful barcode

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Redmond (WA) - Microsoft is giving a facelift to barcodes by adding some color.  Researchers at Microsoft have developed a high capacity barcode aptly named the “High Capacity Color Bar Code” which uses colored triangles to store more information.  The new barcodes could add more security to merchandise and even provide hyperlinks to websites.

The new barcode is slightly less than one-inch square and contains dozens of small red, green, yellow and black triangles.  Researchers claim the codes can be scanned by webcams or high-quality cameras in mobile phones.  Ultimately the bar codes could hold up to twice the information than traditional black and white stripe bar codes.

Microsoft has already partnered up with the International Standard Audiovisual Numbering system which is the DVD/CD equivalent to the ISBN system for books.  The new codes should start appearing on some DVD and Xbox 360 game discs later this year.

So why make a new bar code?  Microsoft says extra security information can be “invisibly” embedded into the squares.  The extra available information could also give a hyperlink to mobile phone users who scan the package.

The colorful squares aren’t suitable for all packages and probably won’t be used anytime soon on mailing packages since the rough handling and weather will often wear away to exposed paper.  Stores will also have to buy new scanning equipment, at several hundred Dollars a pop, to read the bar codes.