Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"ALGORITHMS/CHIPS: MIT's 'bokode' chip bests bar codes"

Bokodes--a new type of printed code similar to bar-codes but much much smaller--promise to house reams of information about products that can be revealed with an out-of-focus camera. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology invention could replace RFID tags too, in applications where high-security is required. Look for bokodes to start appearing on everything you buy within the next five years. R.C.J.

A new kind of identification tag that combines the security of a bar code with the capacity of an RFID tag will debut next week at the Siggraph 2009 conference. The new tag, which can be read by consumers with a cellphone camera, looks like a 1-mm-high raised bump. Called a "bokode," the MIT invention consists of an illuminated microdot behind a plastic lens. However, the team is working on a holographic version that would use flat, fresnel-like lenses to encode angular information that does not require a backlight. On credit cards bokodes could store information more securely than RFID tags, since the bokode cannot be hacked while still in your wallet like a RFID tag. Bokodes could also be used for classroom presentations, business meetings, video games and motion-capture systems. For augmented reality, nutrition information stored by bokodes could be overlaid on products on grocer's shelves. Bokodes could also allow ultra-high-precision motion capture. For example, using them on body suits would reveal both the angle and the speed of joints, rather than just the speed detected by current motion-capture technology.