High Capacity Color Barcode

An example of a High Capacity Color Barcode: a Microsoft Tag referring to the HCCB article on the English Wikipedia

High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) is the name coined by Microsoft for its technology of encoding data in a 2D "barcode" using clusters of colored triangles instead of the square pixels traditionally associated with 2D barcodes.[1] Data density is increased by using a palette of 4 or 8 colors for the triangles, although HCCB also permits the use of black and white when necessary. It has been licensed by the ISAN International Agency for use in its International Standard Audiovisual Number standard,[2] and serves as the basis for the Microsoft Tag mobile tagging application .

The technology was created by Gavin Jancke, an engineering director at Microsoft Research. Quoted by BBC News in 2007, he said that HCCB was not intended to replace traditional barcodes. "It's more of a 'partner' barcode …. The UPC barcodes will always be there. Ours is more of a niche barcode where you want to put a lot of information in a small space."[3]



HCCB uses a grid of colored triangles to encode data. Depending on the target use, the grid size (total number of symbols), symbol density (the printed size of the triangles), and symbol count (number of colors used) can be varied. HCCB can use an eight-, four-, or two-color (black-and-white) palette. Microsoft claims that laboratory tests using standard off-the-shelf printers and scanners have yielded readable eight-color HCCBs equivalent to approximately 3,500 characters per square inch.[1][3]

Microsoft Tag

Microsoft Tag

Microsoft Tag is an implementation of HCCB using 4 colors in a 5 x 10 grid. Additionally, the code works in monochrome.[4] The print size can be varied to allow reasonable reading by a mobile cameraphone; for example, a Tag on a real estate sign might be printed large enough to be read from a car driving by, whereas a Tag in a magazine could be smaller because the reader would likely be nearer.

A Microsoft Tag is essentially a machine readable web link, analogous to a URL shortening link: when read, the Tag application sends the HCCB data to a Microsoft server, which then returns the publisher's intended URL. The Tag reader then directs the user's mobile browser to the appropriate website, not unlike how CueCat operated. Because of this redirection, Microsoft is also able to provide Tag analytics to publishers. During the beta, the creation of tags for both commercial and noncommercial use is free.[5]


Users can download the free Microsoft Tag reader application to their Internet-capable mobile device with camera, launch the reader and read a tag using their phone’s camera. Depending on the scenario, this triggers the intended content to be displayed. Some GPS-equipped phones can, at the user's option, send coordinate data along with the HCCB data, allowing location-specific information to be returned (e.g. for a restaurant advertisement, a navigational map to the nearest location could be shown).[6]


The Microsoft Tag application gives people the ability to use a mobile phone's on-board camera to take a picture of a tag, and be directed to information in any form, such as text, vCard, URL, Online Photos, Online Video or contact details for the publisher.

Two-dimensional tags can be used to transform traditional marketing media (for example, print advertising, billboards, packaging and merchandising in stores or on LCDs) into gateways for accessing information online. Tags can be applied as gateways from any type of media to an internet site or online media.

The Microsoft Tag reader application is a free download for an Internet-capable mobile device with a camera. The Microsoft Tag reader is compatible for Internet-capable mobile devices, including many based on the Windows Phone 7, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Java, Android, Symbian S60, iPhone and Java ME platforms.[7]

Related technologies

  • Xerox Parc DataGlyphs are a related technology as they use a barcode like technology to encode data—however it is possible to use color images as the source material.
  • Color Construct Code is one of the few other barcode symbologys designed to take advantage of multiple colors. But Instead of encoding a single tag, it is designed to store files including multimedia, possibly along with a URI

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • High Capacity Color Barcode — Der High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) ist ein von Microsoft entwickelter Strichcode.[1] Er soll bestehende Barcode Verfahren nicht ersetzen, sondern vielmehr durch eine höhere Speicherkapazität ergänzen. High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) Am 16 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • High Capacity Color Barcode — Un HCCB contenant l URI http://www.microsoft.com/tag (la page d accueil de Microsoft Tag) Le High Capacity Color Barcode (de l anglais signifiant littéralement « code barres couleur haute capacité »), abrégé par le sigle HCCB, de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • High Capacity Color Barcode — …   Википедия

  • Barcode — For the taxonomic method, see DNA barcoding. A UPC A barcode symbol A barcode is an optical machine readable representation of data, which shows data about the object to which it attaches. Originally barcodes represented data by varying the… …   Wikipedia

  • Intelligent Mail barcode — A possible Intelligent Mail Barcode for the Wikimedia Foundation address The Intelligent Mail Barcode (IM barcode) is a 65 bar code for use on mail in the United States. The term “Intelligent Mail” refers to services offered by the United States… …   Wikipedia

  • MSI Barcode — for the number 1234567 with Mod 10 check digit MSI (also known as Modified Plessey) is a barcode symbology developed by the MSI Data Corporation, based on the original Plessey Code symbology. It is a continuous symbology that is not self checking …   Wikipedia

  • Código de barras de color de Alta Capacidad — Código de barras de color de Alta Capacidad. El código de barras de color de Alta Capacidad (en inglés: High Capacity Color Barcode, HCCB), fue creado por Microsoft. Es un tipo de código de barras que utiliza triángulos de color, en lugar de las… …   Wikipedia Español

  • HCCB — High Capacity Color Barcode Un HCCB contenant l URI http://www.microsoft.com/tag (la page d accueil de Microsoft Tag) Le High Capacity Color Barcode (de l anglais signifiant littéralement « code barres couleur haute capacité ») …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Microsoft Tag — High Capacity Color Barcode Un HCCB contenant l URI http://www.microsoft.com/tag (la page d accueil de Microsoft Tag) Le High Capacity Color Barcode (de l anglais signifiant littéralement « code barres couleur haute capacité ») …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Radio-frequency identification — (RFID) is a technology that uses radio waves to transfer data from an electronic tag, called RFID tag or label, attached to an object, through a reader for the purpose of identifying and tracking the object. Some RFID tags can be read from… …   Wikipedia

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