High Capacity Color Barcode

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A High Capacity Color Barcode containing the address of this Wikipedia article

A High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB), also branded Microsoft Tag, is a type of barcode that uses coloured triangles, instead of black-and-white lines or squares used by other barcode systems.


[edit] History

The High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) is a new system of barcodes, developed by Microsoft.[1] The system is not intended to replace traditional barcodes, but rather enhance them by allowing more information to be stored.

[edit] Standardization

On April 16, 2007 it became known that International Standard Audiovisual Number International Agency (ISAN-IA) licensed the technology.[2]

[edit] Technology

HCCB uses a grid of colored triangles to encode data. Depending on the target use, the grid size (total number of symbols), symbol density (the printed size of the triangles), and symbol count (number of colors used) can be varied. HCCB can use either a 4-color or 8-color system. Laboratory tests using standard off-the-shelf print (inkjet or color laser) and scan (600dpi business card scanner) technology has yielded readable 8-color HCCBs equivalent to approximately 3,500 characters per square inch.[3][4]

[edit] Microsoft Tag

Microsoft Tag is an implementation of HCCB using 4 colors in a 5 x 10 grid. This yields 105 bits, or 13 bytes, of raw data (including Reed–Solomon error correction[5]). The print size can be varied to allow reasonable reading by a mobile cameraphone; for example, a Tag on a real estate sign might be printed large enough to be read from a car driving by, whereas a Tag in a magazine could be smaller because the reader would likely be nearer.

A Microsoft Tag is essentially a machine readable web link, analogous to a TinyURL link: when read, the Tag application sends the HCCB data to a Microsoft server, which then returns the publisher's intended URL. The Tag reader then directs the user's mobile browser to the appropriate website. Because of this redirection, Microsoft is also able to provide Tag analytics to publishers.

[edit] Consumer

Users can download the free Microsoft Tag reader application to their Internet-capable mobile device with camera, launch the reader and read a tag using their phone’s camera. Depending on the scenario, this triggers the intended content to be displayed. Some GPS-equipped phones can, at the user's option, send coordinate data along with the HCCB data, allowing location-specific information to be returned (e.g. for a restaurant advertisement, a navigational map to the nearest location could be shown)[6].

[edit] Application

The Microsoft Tag application gives people the ability to use a mobile phone's on-board camera to take a picture of a tag, and be directed to information in any form, such as text, vCard, URL, Online Photos, Online Video or contact details for the publisher.

Two-dimensional tags can be used to transform traditional marketing media (for example, print advertising, billboards, packaging and merchandising in stores or on LCDs) into gateways for accessing information online. Tags can be applied as gateways from any type of media to an internet site or online media.

Microsoft Tag is available via a free beta download for commercial publishers and the general public in the United States starting Jan. 7, 2009; it will roll out in other countries at a later date.

[edit] Install

The Microsoft Tag reader application is a free download for an Internet-capable mobile device with a camera, available at http://gettag.mobi. The Microsoft Tag reader is compatible for Internet-capable mobile devices, including many based on the Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Java, Symbian S60, iPhone and Java ME platforms. A detailed list of all supported phones is available at http://www.microsoft.com/tag.

[edit] Cost

The Microsoft Tag reader application is free to download and use. Standard carrier rates apply to the data sessions and download time on the mobile device. Those fees are dependent on the consumer’s data plan with the carrier. During the beta, the creation of tags for both commercial and noncommercial use is also free.[7]

[edit] Related technologies

Xerox Parc DataGlyphs are a related technology as they use a barcode like technology to encode data -- however it is possible to use colour images as the source material.

[edit] References

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