Re: Bar-coding the Real World with URLs

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From: Strata Rose Chalup (
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 16:35:47 PDT

I've been saving these until I am home with my notes, but they're
getting more plaintive as more folks reply. :-)

I saw a presentation recently by Roy Want, of Xerox Parc, that addressed
some prototypes they built at PARC to do just that. They are using
microtags that are read via inductive coupling on a special slate with
wireless access to the PARC network. There are several varieties, and
Roy said they got most of them via the livestock industry. There's an
awesome video that Roy's group put together.

Roy Want, Xerox PARC: Connecting the Physical World with the
             Virtual World of Computer Systems

I will try to type in my notes from the session in the next few days, no


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
> >
> >

Strata Rose Chalup []   |
Project Manager                             |     VirtualNet Consulting
iPlanet/Netscape Professional Services      |

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