Barcodes do have a few advantages over RFID. One, they’re cheap. Two, you can make your own. If a barcode gets damaged, you can replace it with a word processor, a barcode font, and a printer. I’ve done this myself on several occasions. A book needs to go out, but the barcode is ripped off. I find out the item number, pop open Word, open up a template I made that approximates our library barcode labels, type in the number, change the number to a barcode font, and print. That’s all it takes. I can’t do that with RFID.
Barcodes all work in the same way. You scan them with some sort of scanner, usually a laser, and the scanner reads the barcode by measureing the light reflected from it. Well, what if you had something similar, but that worked in reverse?
That’s the idea behind Bokode, a new technology in item tagging and identification using an LED and a special lens. The LED is covered by a lens with dark patches on it conforming to a code. To read the Bokode, you simply take a picture of it. Software scans the image, reads the codes, and you get information.
As a circ guy, this makes my nipples rock hard. Imagine a cart full of books and these books have Bokode LEDs in the spines. Take a picture and check the entire cart in. Or set it up so that the picture sets the entire cart to go to a different branch. Go to the shelves and take a picture. Even if a book is out of order, as long as it’s in frame, you’d find it. Take several pictures and in a short amount of time, you’d inventory your entire library with photography.
Sure, RFIDs could do something like this, but imagine, take a picture, and get tonnes of book and item information right now. Hell yes I want to try this. Where can I sign up?