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Programmable Bar-code card

Er, just because
  [vote for,

A credit-card sized thin, flat screen, with portable power supply, that is capable of producing a barcode. It only needs to have one dimension, a reasonable resolution, etc. It needn't change very quickly. And it needn't produce its own light.

Suggested implementation is with one of those paper-screen things - they're like LCDs but only change the reflectiveness of the material surface. Very low power usage, because it only needs power when you change the image.

You slot it into a drive to program it. The drive changes the barcode, and provides the power for redrawing it.

Why? Er, i'm sure the uses will just pile up. As soon as i can think of one. Er...

sadie, Oct 29 2002

Mobile phone bar codes http://www.m-travel.com/11109.shtml
Apparently it works [DenholmRicshaw, Oct 04 2004]


       No power required at all if you create the bars with flip-floppy magnetic things. Just avoid metal detectors.
phoenix, Oct 29 2002

       Here's a use. Seems like every retailer in the U.S. now wants you to carry a "frequent shopper" card to qualify for discounts, and so they can gather customer profiling data on you. I don't mind this all that much, as long as they don't spam me. What I do mind is carrying 15 of these things in my wallet.   

       This card could be programmed to display the bar code for each of your memberships as needed. One card in your wallet, the retailers don't get to aggregate all your data (as they would if we solved this with a common frequent shopper card), and your wallet isn't 8 inches thick.
krelnik, Oct 29 2002

       If you're gonna plug it into a drive to set it, you may as well just print the code, to be honest. It would be cool if it could change them itself, or use a mobile or PDA to do it, which of course could have recevied the data from anywhere.   

       A potential use: I noticed in Norway recently (and also in France I think) that sometimes when you pay with a card, they give you a little keypad that you type your PIN into, instead of the more usual signature. This struck me as good in the sense that it's harder to use a card fraudulently, but bad in the sense that it's much easier to have your PIN seen. Don't know if it's different to your ATM PIN or what.   

       If your phone had a little strip on it that could produce barcodes, it could be used to beam your PIN into the till. You either keep the PIN permanently inside the phone, accessed by another PIN, or discreetly put your phone into the correct mode to expect PIN input, and then input it while holding it inside your pocket or something. The phone then produces a barcode in which is encoded the PIN (this could be different every time, encoded to some standard the till will recognise), the till thingy zaps it, and hey presto.   

       You're right, it's not easy to think of plausible applications for this.
sild, Oct 29 2002

       (off - topic; apologies) Why do Brits use the expression "different to?" Is that supposed to be correct usage over there?
snarfyguy, Oct 29 2002

       // You're right, it's not easy to think of plausible applications for this //   

       .... so we can expect Microsh1t to release it any day now as the next "Great Step Forward" .........
8th of 7, Oct 29 2002

       "Usage Note: Different from and different than are both common in British and American English. The construction different to is chiefly British. Since the 18th century, language critics have singled out different than as incorrect, though it is well attested in the works of reputable writers. According to traditional guidelines, from is used when the comparison is between two persons or things: My book is different from (not than) yours. Different than is more acceptably used, particularly in American usage, where the object of comparison is expressed by a full clause: The campus is different than it was 20 years ago. "
FarmerJohn, Oct 29 2002

       Bar codes? Bit of a backward step given the availability of multi-application smart cards, and cheap readers/writers.   

       sild - I don't know if you're writing from the UK or the US, but the European habit of PIN entry at point of sale, combined with chip-enabled credit cards is headed for the UK rapidly (most new cards issued are hybrid cards - chip and mag stripe); hand held PIN pads incorporating smart card readers and mag stripe readers will become the norm. And little privacy shields that fit over the keypad will be mandatory. Mobile phones with smartcard readers are due on the market next year I believe.
Spooky, Oct 29 2002

       Thanks for above o/t info.
snarfyguy, Oct 29 2002

       [Spooky], is the number you type the same as your PIN number?
Mayfly, Oct 29 2002

       It's already possible to get barcodes displayed on your mobile - see example link. One use is for tickets. You access a Web site, enter your phone number and then receive an SMS with your ticket as a bar code. The bar code displayed on the phone can then be scanned later on to verify that it's a valid ticket. The mobile operator takes care of billing you later and revenue share arrangements are put in place for the other involved parties.
DenholmRicshaw, Dec 05 2002


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