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Barcodes for Mobile Phones

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Essay title: Barcodes for Mobile Phones


2D barcodes were designed to carry significantly more data than its 1D counterpart. These codes are often used in industrial information tagging where high data capacity, mobility and data robustness are required. Mobile phones have evolved from just a voice communication device to what is now a mobile multimedia computing platform. Greater integration of multiple communication technologies into a single device has sparked some interesting applications of 2D barcodes in mobile phones.

Digital Watermarking is a technique used to label digital media by hiding copyright or other information into the underlying data. Embedding of digital watermarks is performed using 2D barcode in wavelet domain. The 2D barcode is insensitive to noise and has embedded error correction facility.

Key Words: 2D barcode, Digital watermark, Mobile internet


The research firm Gartner predicts that sales to end users of mobile phones will exceed 762 million in 2008. A steady upward trend in the sales of smart phones indicates more people will use mobile phones whose functionalities are similar to the personal computer. [7]

Functionality of the mobile phone goes far beyond mere telecommunication; mobile phones can be used, for browsing, music and video player, digital camera, game player, electronic organizer, Global Positioning System device, electronic mailer, electronic purse, and electronic tickets for public transport. With the extensive use of mobile phones, as well as their mobility and multi functionality, mobile phones are an ideal tool for new service delivery [3]

Access to the Internet by way of the mobile phone has created a new media environment. From this basis, digital contents, music, images, video, books and games, can be directly distributed from digital content providers to end users. [1] The uniqueness of this technological advancement presents new business opportunities to the digital content publishing industry and enables end-users to benefit from the digital environment at their convenience. On the other hand, widespread unauthorized distribution and illegal reuse of digital content through the Internet has caused a large amount of revenue loss for the digital content providers. The question is how one can ensure copyright or label digital information?

This paper seeks to explore the application of 2Dbarcode as a measure against Copyright infringement and digital piracy perpetrated through the use of the mobile phone and other handheld communication devices. This application will allow stakeholders to access copyright material and authenticate the products in real time through a Web-enabled mobile camera phone.

Printed media

Paper documents, such as books and newspapers, are still widely used and I am of the view that these will never be completely overwhelmed by digitalization. However, it is obvious that the demands to connect these analog and digital worlds are increasing. [6] Advancements in integration on hand held devices have helped to bridge the analogue digital divide through a single device.

Currently Information is encoded in a 2D barcode, and is overprinted on the articles of an analog media such as a newspaper or magazine by using regular/ visible ink and invisible ink.

To extract the information, the barcode image is photographed using a hand held device such as cell phone. In the case where the barcode image has been overprinted with invisible ink, the handheld device is equipped with a special LED that makes the invisible ink visible, allowing for the barcode image to be photographed and the information extracted using a program in the device. [6]

How system works

The cell phone has a digital camera with an Ultra Violet LED as a light source. It extracts and decodes the invisible 2D barcode printed on top of the printed materials by taking a picture while illuminating the document with the LED. The 2D barcode is visible when illuminated by the Ultra Violet LED. The 2D barcode is decoded into meaningful information and superimposed on the normal screen image on the LCD (liquid crystal display). [6]

When the user clicks the shutter and the information is decoded, the cell phone starts communicating with the server and downloads or displays the content related to the decoded information. Using this mechanism, users can easily get the associated digital content for the article and the picture in the newspaper or magazines.

This system also supports an off-line mode, in which the cell phone doesn’t communicate with the server, but just displays the decoded information.


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(2009, 12). Barcodes for Mobile Phones. Retrieved 12, 2009, from

"Barcodes for Mobile Phones" 12 2009. 2009. 12 2009 <>.

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"Barcodes for Mobile Phones." 12, 2009. Accessed 12, 2009.