RE: Bar-coding the Real World with URLs

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From: jeremie kass (
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 15:57:15 PDT

check out
These folks ( are doing it with little RFID

A German software firm has come up with a paradoxically high tech
solution to the decidedly low tech problem of organizing all that
solution to the decidedly low tech problem of organizing all that
paper. Findentity, a system produced by Berlin-based Thax Software
(, lets office workers track and locate any
letter, file, or photo in the office. It works like this: Every piece of
paper to be tracked is "marked" with a transponder, a
postage-stamp-sized sticker embedded with a chip that can store and
send a 32-bit identification number. Users then install a local
positioning net, a series of antennas strategically placed in doorways
and underneath desks. When a file goes AWOL, the antennas home in
on the missing document's transponder. The signal bounces back to a
PC, where the software calls up a map of the office and points to the
file with a flashing arrow. An optional ceiling-mounted laser beam
can even spotlight the missing file. Businesses with multiple branch
can track files by using Findentity in conjunction with the Net.

On Thu, 4 May 2000, Dan Brickley wrote:

> Resisting the urge to witter on about how I thought this up 5 years ago
> but fell asleep reading barcode specs and got distracted, this reminds
> me of another someday gadget that I'm determined not to forget (because
> I really need it to exist!):
> Long story short. I want a way not only of uniquely IDing all the junk
> (papers, books, CDs, videos etc) lying around home and office, but of
> finding the damn things when I want them. That means putting them down
> anywhere, then asking my local Web where I left them. I know how to do
> the metadata part, that's the easy bit. But the hardware side of it I've
> not done a tech review on. I want there to exist something cheap and
> unencumbered by silly US patents which allows a networked device to
> locate nearby objects given their identifier.
> eg: Q: "where did I put that book I borrowed from Martin last year"
> A: ??? (coordinates I guess; or geiger-counter style gadget
> that beeped more frequently as I approach its location... whatever)
> So I'm after something with cheap, unubtrusive little labels (like
> shops/libraries use to stop you stealing stuff) that are uniquely IDs
> and whose exact location can be detected by some cheap, unobtrusive
> little box I can hook into a PC. It'd need to be suitable for attaching
> little ID/labels to all the printouts, photocopies etc I've lying
> around, in filing cabinets etc.
> Someone please tell me this is feasible...
> Dan
> On Thu, 4 May 2000, Jim Whitehead wrote:
> > One of the major impacts this technology could have is allowing every single
> > item to have its own barcoded URL. In fact, I think it would be neat if
> > every single item we bought, over a certain size, had a URL that pointed to:
> >
> > * a desrciption of what the object does
> > * specifications of the object
> > * any consumer recalls of the object
> > * safety information on the object
> > * how to repair the object (or how to locate someone who will repair it)
> > * how to recycle the object
> > * how to safely dispose of the object
> > * description of how to locate a secondary market where the item could be
> > sold
> >
> > In fact, I would be in favor of legislation that made providing and
> > maintaining this information mandatory for every object over $5 (or some
> > other very small number).
> >
> > - Jim
> >
> >

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