New barcodes emerge from MIT + VIDEO

SEPTEMBER 28, 2009--Researchers at the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with a new kind of very small barcode that could provide a variety of useful information to shoppers as they scan the shelves -- and could even lead to new devices for classroom presentations, business meetings, videogames, or motion-capture systems.

Sep 28th, 2009

SEPTEMBER 28, 2009--The ubiquitous barcodes found on product packaging provide information to the scanner at the checkout counter, but that's about all they do. Now, researchers at the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA, USA) have come up with a new kind of very small barcode that could provide a variety of useful information to shoppers as they scan the shelves -- and could even lead to new devices for classroom presentations, business meetings, videogames, or motion-capture systems (watch the video below).

The new system, called Bokode, is based on a new way of encoding visual information, explains Media Lab associate professor Ramesh Raskar, who leads the lab's Camera Culture group. Until now, there have been three approaches to communicating data optically: through ordinary imaging (using 2D space), through temporal variations such as a flashing light or moving image (using the time dimension), or through variations in the wavelength of light (used in fiber-optic systems to provide multiple channels of information simultaneously through a single fiber).

The new system uses very different approach, encoding data in the angular dimension: Rays of light coming from the new tags vary in brightness depending on the angle at which they emerge. Raskar says that almost no one seems to have used this method of encoding information.



Source: Camera Culture Group, MIT Media Lab

The prototype devices produced at the Media Lab currently cost about $5 each, most of that cost due to use of an off-the-shelf convex glass lens, but that price could easily drop to 5 cents once they are produced even in volumes of a few hundred units.

The work was supported by grants from Nokia, Samsung, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A paper on the barcode was presented at SIGGRAPH: Bokode: Imperceptible Visual Tags for Camera-based Interaction from a Distance.

For more information, go to: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/barcodes-0724.html.

-- Posted by Conard Holton, Vision Systems Design, www.vision-systems.com

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