Bokode - Amazing New Type of Barcode

I find the next piece of research so amazingly cool that I can't understand how I've missed for so long (a whole three days!). Submitted to next month's SIGGRAPH, MIT's Media Lab Bokode is a new way to visually code information.
I'm not going to try to explain the technology behind it (that's what the paper for), but it a nutshell it uses a small light source to create an image consisting of thousands of pixels. The pixels are only discernible when a camera is looking at the Bokode while its focus is set to infinity. I hope the next video explains it better:

As the video above shows, there are very nice implications to augmented reality. Aside from coding the identity of the object, it can also encode how's the object positioned in comparison to your camera. Though, if I understood correctly, the demonstration above uses two cameras, one shooting the object in focus, while the other looks at the Bokode.
Another obstacle in the way of wide adoption is that the Bokode currently requires an energy source to operate. Nevertheless, it has already taken a step in the right direction, and currently have a short page on Wikipedia.
More information here and here. Via


Thomas K Carpenter said...

It is interesting, but I'm skeptical of any RFID tag type system that requires high upfront cost. It's possible to find some limited applications that work with the Bokode, but I think it can't achieve widespread acceptance because of the cost-benefit.

rouli said...

I see your point, but I still think there's hope for this technology. First, I'm pretty sure RFIDs themselves were once expensive, till we started to mass produce them. The cost to manufacture a single Bokode will surely drop once we make enough of them.
Then, it has some advantages over RFID. It's way more useful when it comes to augmented reality (RFID, afaik, is non directional), and it somewhat more secure than RFIDs since it requires a line of sight.

Joshua Falken said...

And once again, one of the most exciting developments in AR comes from people (the Camera Culture group at MIT) who would NEVER ever refer to themselves as AR researchers. This is computational photography / computer vision research, and the utility for AR is seen as an almost embarrassing side product. Unfortunately, that's the state of things. And yes, I do know a couple of those people personally, so I know what I am talking about.

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