2D barcode based navigation and information system

Imagine yourself in a completely unknown place and you are looking for someone to meet. You take out your mobile phone, start GPS.. but GPS does not work because of not being into open place. Then you start your browser, wait for network to select, type in “google maps.com” but unfortunately network signal is weak, that option is also gone. Imagine the same situation becoming worst, when your phone does not even have GPS/internet facility to run google maps, what to do..where to go?

Here we are.. “2D barcode based information and navigation system”

Not only navigation but also information system using 2D barcode (like QR code, semacode, maxicode etc) designed and prototyped by Keyur Sorathia(Interaction Designer) & Dhairya Dand(Computer Science Expert). A research project exploring new possibilities on contextual navigation & information using almost any camera mobile phone and with just 50 paise print out.

Here, the scenario tries to explain every aspect of it, still we are mentioning some important points needs to be considered.

If we explain the process in simple steps:

start reader >> triggers your camera >> automatically fetches the data & shows on mobile screen

Some more points that are not mentioned in the scenario:

  • Technology is designed in such a way that, unlimited data can be stored and displayed
  • Detailed contextual information is displayed which never happens in GPS / google maps
  • Information can be displayed using all media of videos, images and text.
  • The system can be placed and used in any place
  • It requires only step interaction to call, send SMS, view website & mail

Currently we have a low fidelity prototype using Nokia N95 and looking forward to make a working prototype using other mobile phones.

Waiting for the comments 🙂



  1. 1.Hey Keyur, this indeed is an interesting concept.
    I liked the idea of locally disseminating dense packets of information without being connected to larger networks like internet and perhaps the best part is this can be used with any blue tooth enabled phones.

    2.Such system can be very well used in the scenarios where people do need location specfic info and that too detailed one for eg:
    Museums/ Zoo / historical sites- to provide item/ location specific information.Bus stand / Railway stations: where you dont know which train is coming which platform , train timetable etc.

    3.Here are few ideas on the top of what you created:
    What possibilities this can create if lets say the Barcodes were to be dynamic i mean something like LCD/ monochrome LCD’s or simply scrollable paper chart. This way the information becomes dynamic yet contextual.

    One scenario I can think of is you go into a cinema hall and you see this LCD/ window showing movie poster and it changes every 2 minutes.
    Each poster has small bar code in the bottom and one can view additional info such as movie snapshot/ review etc using the barcode.
    And as the poster changes you can view the new info if you want.

    4.How about certain sequence of barcode leading to new information .
    For eg. In a museum I first see info related to a certain musical instrument say Tabala with barcode 1 and next I see the portrait of of a instrumentalist say Zakir Hussain with barcode 2 then will the sequence 1 followed by 2 generate new set of info? Like Zakir is a tabla maestro, awards and his best tabala videos etc. something like that.

    5.Also another idea is how about hidden/ invisible barcodes something like codes are written in IR emitting ink or embedded in the image itself in a way only the software can read it .Your eyes cant see them but your camera will?

    This will not disturb the decorum of the image. Imagine you watching the cinema poster [which has Priyanka Chopra in it :P] and there is this ugli barcode on the poster, I would just like to kill the designer.

    Oops I am throwing lot of free ideas I must charge you for this 😛

    6.The main drawback I can spot with this idea is you have to download the package of pre-stored data every time you enter a new location [like in IIT you will have a IIT specific package and in CCD you will need to download another data package specific to CCD]. So these bar codes act more like triggers to certain context specific information which is now pre-stored in the mobile itself and that will enable you for further actions.
    Since anyways you having the reader/ software installed on your mobile, so why not add more capability to the reader and make it more generic (like QR codes)in a way it can read and decipher any of the codes and you need not download it location wise..

    7.I didnt know Dhairya is also on this project, I happened to know him.Btw whats with your accent? I thought you sounded better in person 😛

  2. What about a 2d barcode with navigation/GPS on an adhesive patch that can be placed on anything you need to keep track of, like your young kids when they are outside. All you need to do is open the scanned 2d barcode on your phone and it shows you where you child is…This could work for you purse etc (something people could/would steel)

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