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An example of a High Capacity Color Barcode: a Microsoft Tag referring to the HCCB article on the English Wikipedia

High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) is the name coined by Microsoft for its proprietary technology of encoding data in a 2D "barcode" using clusters of colored triangles instead of the square pixels traditionally associated with 2D barcodes.[1] Data density is increased by using a palette of 4 or 8 colors for the triangles, although HCCB also permits the use of black and white when necessary. It has been licensed by the ISAN International Agency for use in its International Standard Audiovisual Number standard,[2] and serves as the basis for the Microsoft Tag mobile tagging application.

The technology was created by Gavin Jancke, an engineering director at Microsoft Research. Quoted by BBC News in 2007, he said that HCCB was not intended to replace traditional barcodes. "It's more of a 'partner' barcode …. The UPC barcodes will always be there. Ours is more of a niche barcode where you want to put a lot of information in a small space."[3]

Contents

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 an eight-, four-, or two-color (black-and-white) palette. Microsoft claims that laboratory tests using standard off-the-shelf printers and scanners have yielded readable eight-color HCCBs equivalent to approximately 3,500 characters per square inch.[1][3]

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[4]). 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.

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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)[5].

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.

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.[6]

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]

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 color images as the source material.

References


File:High Capacity Color
An example of a High Capacity Color Barcode: a Microsoft Tag referring to the HCCB article on the English Wikipedia

High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) is the name coined by Microsoft for its proprietary technology of encoding data in a 2D "barcode" using clusters of colored triangles instead of the square pixels traditionally associated with 2D barcodes.[1] Data density is increased by using a palette of 4 or 8 colors for the triangles, although HCCB also permits the use of black and white when necessary. It has been licensed by the ISAN International Agency for use in its International Standard Audiovisual Number standard,[2] and serves as the basis for the Microsoft Tag mobile tagging application .

The technology was created by Gavin Jancke, an engineering director at Microsoft Research. Quoted by BBC News in 2007, he said that HCCB was not intended to replace traditional barcodes. "It's more of a 'partner' barcode …. The UPC barcodes will always be there. Ours is more of a niche barcode where you want to put a lot of information in a small space."[3]

Contents

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 an eight-, four-, or two-color (black-and-white) palette. Microsoft claims that laboratory tests using standard off-the-shelf printers and scanners have yielded readable eight-color HCCBs equivalent to approximately 3,500 characters per square inch.[1][3]

Microsoft Tag

Microsoft Tag is an implementation of HCCB using 4 colors in a 5 x 10 grid. 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. During the beta, the creation of tags for both commercial and noncommercial use is also free.[4]

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)[5].

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.

The Microsoft Tag reader application is a free download for an Internet-capable mobile device with a camera. The Microsoft Tag reader is compatible for Internet-capable mobile devices, including many based on the Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Java, Android, Symbian S60, iPhone and Java ME platforms.[6]

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 color images as the source material.

See also

References


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