Innovative Bar Code, Without The Scanning

This article is more than 12 years old.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have invented an innovative type of bar code that could soon make its way into commercial applications.

The MIT scientists are using the way light acts coming from an angle to encode lots more information in a bar code just three millimeters across. It does not require a laser scanner. A camera lens can read it from yards away — even a cell phone camera — according to research team member Ramesh Raskar.

"Now you can read tens of thousands of bits, using a very simple device. I mean about a billion people in the world carry a camera in their pocket," Raskar said.

That technology could open up to all sorts of practical applications, such as walking by a restaurant and using a camera to upload and store the menu and hours of operation.

This program aired on July 28, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Curt Nickisch Twitter Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.