Do we need another barcode system? Bokodes thinks so



I love innovation.  I also love the innovation that comes out of MIT.

What is the innovation?

This time is a new type of barcode – called Bokode. 


3mm-diameter.  LED covered in a tiny mask and  lens.

Information is encoded via the light shining through the mask, which varies in brightness depending on which angle it is seen from.  (BBC)


Barcodes vs Bokode

1D barcode

The most common barcode already available in retail and on a variety of goods. 

2D barcode/ QR Code

Proprietary codes

New codes for mobile devices increasing in popularity.  QR codes are huge in Asia and this trend is increasing in Europe.  Proprietary code systems such as those from Scanbuy ar also available in Spain seamlessly on operators’ networks.  These forms of barcode are shaping the mobile industry.

Microsoft Tag

A colour coded barcode from Microsoft. It is also for the mobile space and adds colour to the traditional black and white codes. Some brands are using this already and Microsoft is set to put them as standard on its own suite of goods and services.


In essence this is a long-distance code. It can read information from a distance and can be read by mobile camera devices but is being positioned as a code for LBS or GPS services.  In the BBC article that I found this information the Bokode developer claimed that it was USD 1 dollar cheaper to produce a Bokode than a Microsoft Tag.  But it is highly unlikely that the Bokode is cheaper to produce than the 1D or 2D barcode.



What we think?

I think that the retail space is already crowded with mobile barcodes and entering with a new system will be tough. But, the idea around long-distance codes and being taken from all angles from a car or similar is very very compelling.


Well. Mobile barcodes is what we deal with the most here at GoMo News.  Mobile Barcodes have the essence of being successful because they build on mobile web usage and also have the flair of familiarity or personalisation.  Sharing codes or viewing something fun from a billboard or Pepsi can together.  The essence is that you use your most personal device to help you find and locate special promotions, websites or information.


But to take a picture of a mobile barcode you need to be close and in front of it.  Some scanning solutions (Nokia Scan) even make you place the phone directly above the code.  RFID codes even need a phone to be placed on top of a reader.

This is why the Bokode has legs and arms. The ability to capture a code from a distance is progressive and I do think a focus on the outside market and GPS, LBS or cars and social networks could make this a roaring success.  The fact of the matter is that mobile barcodes fail from a distance and if you can capture on the fly then you can benefit from special offers, information and all sorts on offer in the location you are in.

I might be thinking too far ahead but I can see amazing benefits from local community and tourist services.  I hate asking people for directions when I am lost and some kind of barcode shop or street sign location service is desperately needed. 


About Bena Roberts

GoMo News' founder and former managing editor, Bena Roberts has now moved on. She's now spending more time with her family. Tony Dennis has now assumed her mantle as the site's editor.
This article was published in Featured, Microsoft, Mobile applications, Mobile barcodes, mobile news and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Do we need another barcode system? Bokodes thinks so

  1. digitalisrex says:

    Theoretically they can be read from up to 60m away although that type would have to be powered since a camera flash probably wouldn’t light up a passive bokode at that range. I’ve put some info together here, I really see this technology taking off.

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