Fun With Bar Codes

By on October 9, 2005

In my line of work I see more bar codes than most people, and probably know more than is healthy for anyone about all the types of codes & what makes them go. But this guy, Scott Blake, has put a new twist on the whole works, using bar codes for all manner of fun stuff.

Of particular interest is the Bar Code Clock, Bar Code Yourself, and the Bar Code Tattoos. He’s also got a page of paintings that use bar codes to create the different shadings. Pretty creative.

Actually, there is some fun that can be had with bar codes and other types of ID codes. The code at the top of this post is a Data Matrix (ECC-200) that has the words “Gadgetopia “Geek and you shall find…” encoded. The Data Matrix can contain up to 256 alpha-numeric characters, so there is a lot you can stuff into one. A guy I used to work with would occasionally leave messages in DM codes… Only effective if the other side has a 2D-capable scanner. And a conference I went to a while back had name tags with the names in DM codes. (OK, so that sounds lame; I guess you had to be there.)



  1. Thought I would drop a note from Japan, where people and cellphones are almost organically linked. Every mobile phone has color, cameras, internet browsers (a very cool function; I can actually book airplane flights from the hand phone!), and the latest function is Data Matrix readers. Just take a picture with your camera and it will read it for you.

    Most common use I’ve seen is have barcodes on posters and in magazine advertisements. The code will automatically direct the mobile’s web browser to websites. Especially common in softcore porn magazines where users can scan an enticing models barcode and be directed straight to her personal URL. Which my old crappy phone isn’t capable of.

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