About High Capacity Color Barcode Technology

High Capacity Color Barcode technology, developed within Microsoft Research, advances the state of the art in storing digital information on analog media.

High Capacity Color Barcode Technology home

Higher density storage capability

The High Capacity Color Barcode barcode format takes advantage of advanced computer imaging devices along with processing power to enable higher density storage of data on analog printed media. The format achieves this by using a different barcode symbol shape in combination with multiple colors per symbol.

Currently laboratory tests have yielded using eight colors, 2,000 binary bytes, or 3,500 alphabetical characters per square inch in its highest density form using a 600dpi business card scanner. This equates to two pages of a novel. The symbol size can be changed to accommodate the differing fidelities of imaging devices. The barcode can be printed using a regular inkjet or laser jet printer.

Digital signing capability

The High Capacity Color Barcode barcode has integrated digital signing features using state-of-the-art Elliptic Curve Cryptography, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) techniques. The purpose of digital signing authenticates the integrity of the data stored in the barcode, ensuring the data is unmodified from the original author.

Microsoft's advanced signing techniques employ industry known proven techniques achieving RSA-1024 strength security in only 20 bytes payload overhead.

Multiple payloads, small file system

Typical existing barcode formats have the capability of storing just one item of data or requiring the reader software to have knowledge of the data stored within the barcode. The High Capacity Color Barcode barcode can store multiple individual items of data each being compressed as optimally as possible within the physical code, implementing essentially a small file system.

Robust mobile device erformance

The High Capacity Color Barcode barcode runs on any processor or operating system platform, the lightweight mobile phone implementation can decode barcodes in realtime from a video stream, for example 30ms on a 200Mhz ARM processor. As the format uses half the symbols of its black and white counter parts, decode success rates are higher for the same black and white physical barcode size as the symbols are larger. The smallest capacity barcode can be read on cellphones without modified lenses at a print size of just 3/4" square, outperforming QRCode and Datamatrix formats. Advanced segmentation and color processing techniques ensure good decode rates across a range of image and lighting qualities: From sharp to blurred; From light to dark.