Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the Bokode?
The Bokode is a novel information encoding and decoding technique. Traditional barcodes encode information in the spatial, temporal, or spectral dimensions. The Bokode encodes information in the angular dimension, and a camera focused at infinity captures and decodes this information. Since the human eye focuses on the Bokode (and not at infinity), and also because the eye's pupil is smaller than a camera's aperture, the Bokode is practically imperceptible to a human.
Q2. What advantages does the Bokode have over traditional barcodes?
The biggest advantages are (a) the small size, (b) ability to be read from a distance by a standard camera with a large aperture lens, and (c) ability to encode directional/angular information.
Q3. What advantages does the Bokode have over RFIDs?
Unlike RFID's, Bokodes require line of sight to operate. This makes them more suitable for applications that require security/privacy. Further, the Bokode gives accurate positional/orientation information, which is quite hard to obtain with standard RFIDs. Finally, Bokodes can be read by a standard camera (or even the human eye if you hold them right next to the eye), while RFIDs require dedicated scanners.
Q4. From what distance can cameras read the Bokodes?
Most cell phone cameras have very small lens apertures, and need to be held close to the Bokdoe (a few inches) to read the information. A standard SLR camera has a larger lens aperture, and can read the current Bokode prototype from a distance of up to 4 meters. We are working on prototypes that can be read from distances of 20 meters or more.
Q5. Will Bokodes really replace existing barcodes?
Probably not anytime soon. There are several issues that need to be addressed before the ubiquitous barcode is replaced. We already have passive Bokode prototypes, which is a step in that direction. We are also working on holographic Bokodes, which would greatly reduce the cost and size. Finally, even with the current limitations, the Bokode is suitable for several applications (see next question).
Q6. What are some other applications of Bokodes?
Bokode opens up a range of new applications, previously not associated with barcodes. The Bokodes provide highly accurate camera position estimates (0.1 degree angular accuracy with the current prototype). We can use this for applications in Augmented Reality and Motion Capture (please see video). Additionally, this also enables the use of Bokodes for user interaction applications (see next question).
Q7. How can Bokodes be used for User Interaction?
Since Bokodes provide identity and angular information from a distance, they can be used for interacting with large displays in public spaces (think of a wiimote in your keychain). Unlike touch screens, the system allows multiple people to interact at the same time from a distance. We see applications in the areas of crowd gaming, smart whiteboards, and advertising. We are working on a prototype demo, and are interested in looking for commercial partners in this area.